Starting an online business is a lot simpler than starting an offline business. So, if you have been thinking of venturing into entrepreneurship, online business is a good way to test the water and check if thoroughly you are cut-out for the adventure of running a small business.
I have personally observed that almost all the fundamental principles that make for a successful offline small business will still be relevant in your online business. Though, the competition online is much more keen than that you have in your neighbor-hood. You may actually be competing with millions of small entrepreneurs who offer the same product or service that you offer.
This means you really need to establish good business practices and lay a strong foundation that can stand the test of time. Your success online as an entrepreneur will be hinged on your ability to build long-term business relationships with your online customers by providing quality products or services at a price that is considered competitive.
Why Start An Online Business?
There are several reasons why people start online business. Let’s look at some of the advantages that an online business have over an offline business.
Low Initial Capital – Starting an online business requires little or no capital. It is actually possible for you to start without removing a cent from your savings. If you can get online all the basic resources you need initially can be sourced freely on the internet. You only need to Google for them. Also, there are tons of tutorial and HOW TO articles that will freely guide you in whatever venture you want to embark on online. I am yet to see another business that is that cheap to start.
Ease of Outsourcing Tasks – Unlike offline business, you can easily outsourced most of the task you need to carry out in your online business. There is hardly a task that cannot be outsourced to professionals. For example, if you desire to set up a simple website, all the tasks such as; choosing a domain name, getting a hosting company, designing and building the website, can all be outsourced to professionals. Even if you don’t know where to find the right professionals, you will still get to them by simply asking for help from forums and online communities.
International Market Coverage – Rather than struggling in your locality to be the local champion, you can compete in the international market by offering your products and services to customers across the globe. If the cost of product and freight is still lower than a local substitute, the customer may consider buying yours instead of the local alternative.
Ease of Monitoring Business Performance – There are several tools and gadgets (quite a good number of them are free) that you can use to measure the performance of your online business. You can track important facts such as, customers preferences, their demography, how often they visit, how often they buy, their likes and dislikes etc.
International Business Relationship – Even if you do not think of your business as an international business, you must recognize that your visitors are likely to be from all over the world. You should consider whether or not you are prepared for international shipping and other transactions with countries other than your own. You should also strongly consider having your website translated onto languages other than English. The percentage of non-US businesses on the Internet has risen dramatically in just the past year!
Corporate Identity – Even when your business cannot boast of owning $100, yet it can be presented as a corporate entity that deserve attention. A well designed website can give you the attention you deserve from the online consumers. An average online customer cannot easily distinguish between a website owned by a multi-million dollar corporation and one that is owned by a college student. There are so many free resources online that you can use to design a professional looking website for free. The online community is also rich in free support services. If you don’t know where to start, use a forum to seek for help.
I bet you are excited at the possibilities and you want to ask some questions. Well, let’s examine some possible questions you may want immediate answer to.
1. How do I set-up My Online Business?
Start your online business with a free blog. Anybody can dream, however, successful online entrepreneurs are people that did not only dream, but they took action. So, you need to take action. I strongly suggest you create a free website that you can use for internet marketing and other online entrepreneurship tasks by signing for a free account with BLOGGER. It takes less than 20minutes to get a free account and set-up a simple website that is capable of making money online. Here is a short video tutorial to get you started.
2. How much capital do I need?
It all depends on you. You can start with zero capital. Yes, you heard me right, you can start your very own online business with zero dollar, and yet the business will be capable of making money online right from day one. Well, don’t be over excited, your earnings may start from cents.
Also, you can start with over a million dollar. It all depends on what you want. If you ask for my opinion as an online entrepreneur, I will strongly advise you to start with a free blog. If you cannot earn money with that, then online business may not be for you. Success online is not about how much you can throw around, it is more about skills you need to develop. You can get some tips from my post on
3. What resources do I need?
Any simple computer that can connect to the internet. Once you can get online, every other basic resources that you need can be gotten free. You only need to search for them. If you don’t know where to search, ask questions in forum and other online communities. You can also ask me 😉 I’ll gladly lend a helping hand freely (of course, this will be dependent on my schedule at the time, but be rest assured that there are several people that will be willing to lend a helping hand to a newbie entrepreneur)
4. How long will it take to set-up a website for my online business?
It depends on how sophisticated you want the website to be. However, a simple free website which I recommended above can be set-up in less than 20minutes.
5. How do I get paid ?
There are several payment processors online. Paypal is the most famous, but there are alternatives. You can get more details on how to receive payment online from my previous post on the topic, click the link How to receive payment online.
5. After setting up a website what next?
That is the million dollar question! Online entrepreneurship is a journey. The very first step is venturing online and registering your presence with a website. After that, you will need to start learning and practicing how to earn income online. At first, it is hard-work, but on the long run, it is quite rewarding. If you set-up a good system, the business will be able to run even when you are absent on a vacation. That is one of the beauty of online business. You must not be tied to a daily routine. So many tasks can be automated or outsources such that you only need to take critical decisions.
Please note that how much you earn, will depend on how much useful lessons you have learned and practice. So, you can assume that the more you learn, the better you become and the more you earn. How long you will need to learn before you can earn fat income is entirely dependent on you. However, you can shorten the length of time it takes by learning from successful entrepreneurs who are practicing what they teach online. Looking for short-cuts or get rich quick schemes being offered by faceless “guru online marketers” will only get you hurt.
This post is already too long, so I’ll stop here. In subsequent posts, I will elaborate more on the topic starting an online business, you can get free updates by subscribing to Nigerian Entrepreneur RSS feed, Cheers.