6 Rules for Starting an Internet Business in 2017

The internet is one of the easiest and best places to start a business in 2017. You can start selling products as a storefront without ever having to rent out a building, and you can reach out to customers without ever having to get out of bed. Consumers are buying more products and services online because it is convenient, and virtually everything is available online.

Compared to a brick and mortar store, the popularity of the internet as a shopping tool has drastically changed the game for starting a business, and it has also brought about great changes for many a business owner. If you have the right business plan, you can set yourself up for success. These tips should give you some key guidelines to starting an internet business for 2017.

1. Solve a Problem
When a consumer buys a product, they do so in the hopes that it will solve a problem. This problem usually saves the user time or money. Think about products like DoorDash and Uber – two online businesses that save people the trouble of ordering food or finding a cab.

People make purchase decisions to solve emotional problems as well: whether it's vitamins, alternative medicines, exercise equipment or fashion accessories, one could easily consider personal appearance to be a problem requiring seasonal fixes.

So whatever you sell, the consumer is going to want your product or service to work. That means that the first thing you should be asking yourself is:
• How can my products or services help people?
• What is it about my products or services that will convince people to buy them?

The answer to these questions defines what your business values and goals should be.

2. Understand Your Competitor
Once you know what your business goals are, you need to start thinking about your competition. Businesses, small or large, still have a lot of opportunities online. If you research your industry and find competition, do not think it is already too late to break into the business. Think of this as a good sign, because now you have “proof of concept,” or in other words, people are making money selling your type of products because they do solve the consumer's problem.

Domino’s did not invent the pizza, and look at how well they did. Conversely, if you think you have a great idea and can’t figure out why literally nobody else is doing it yet, you may want to start looking for red flags you might have missed. Another great example is McDonald's. The owner didn't invent the hamburger, he just analyzed the competition and made his product solve the consumer’s needs better.

The key to becoming a success online is to analyze the things that your competitors are doing and figure out how to do it better. Sure, this can be daunting for new owners, but rest easy, because every business has strengths and weaknesses. All you have to do is make their weakness your strength.

3. Understand Your Customers
To make your business more appealing to would-be prospects, you need to be able to target your buyer correctly. This is going to require in-depth research. You can't just target location and age and believe that you’ve done all the research you need to succeed. You also have to consider income, marital status, occupation, education, interest, ethnicity, and your buyers particular personality.

You need to develop a deep understanding of your consumers’ buying behaviors to make sure you are in front of them when they want to make a purchase decision. If you know your customers well enough, you should be able to make consumer driven decisions about your product regarding pricing, quality, and ad spend online. These key decisions will go a long way to impact the conversion rate of your product per visitor to your online business.

4. Your Budget
Going online and being successful takes more than just having your start up costs covered. You need to budget and know how much you're going to require to to promote and run your business for a few months. In many cases, startup businesses only become profitable after a substantial amount of time and online effort.
Smart business owners have a budget plan for sustaining their business until they see returns. The problem is many businesses still believe that the internet means free promotion. To be successful online you need to promote and spend on advertising, SEO, design work and more. Anyone can park a website on the internet, but making that website look nice and get in front of an audience is going to be an investment worth making.

5. Develop a Revenue Model
During your budget planning stage, you should figure out how much of your product or services you need to sell to keep your business afloat. You need to develop your revenue plan and estimate the number of sales you need to keep your business going while developing your budget plan so you can accurately project numbers for your business.

Create a plan that estimates the number of sales you need to make per month to break even. Your revenue plan keeps you on track, helps you set sales goals and ensures that your business continues to have the finances it needs to run efficiently.

6. Be Passionate
The most important trait or characteristic a successful entrepreneur needs is passion. Creating a lucrative business is no easy task. For a while, you might wear all the hats in your business.

You will have obstacles and problems. In the absence of passion, the obstacles will seem far more difficult. If you are passionate about your business, your determination will overcome these obstacles.

In Conclusion
Running a successful business is a challenge, but it is also a joy, providing you build a strong foundation and work to take advantage of all the opportunities available online. You can’t just build a website and expect your traffic to come. You have to build it up, work at it, and find people online that want to buy your product or service.


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