Learn the Steps on How to Start an Online Business to Increase Your Income
The digital world is now taking a different shape, with many individuals getting into the online business. The rise of e-commerce platforms has been increasing significantly in the past years. This, as more people are finding it more convenient to purchase an item via the internet. After a few clicks, they can buy the dress they have wanted to purchase and other stuff like gadgets, books, appliances, and even groceries. Shopping has been made easier. Indeed, the advancement in technology has changed consumer behavior.
At the same time, it is indeed evident that more people are embarking on how to start an online business in Malaysia. The best part is that online business does not require much capital, and you can work from anywhere. It gives you that convenience, flexibility, and even little savings from not shelling out big money right away. But before you participate in the digital marketplace, you should be informed of the online business ideas and requirements.
With that said, let’s dive into some of the simple guidelines on how to start an online business.
Carve Out Your Niche Into a Business Opportunity
People get their motivation from what makes them happy – their passion. You do not want to be caught in the conflict between your values and people’s needs. You must then, therefore, try to strike a balance between your dream business and reality.
Start by carving out your niche right from the beginning. Your place should not be broad; it should be simple enough to solve one particular problem in a much better way than others. When it comes to identifying your niche, choose a place where some players have differentiated products. If you’re into blogging — blog on what you love doing and don’t do it for the sake of doing it but monetize your blog site. Let everyone know about what you do, and through social media marketing, you can advertise yourself.
If you know how to promote products, you can get into affiliate marketing. You only need to identify the right affiliate network and start earning commissions from people who end up buying thanks to your marketing skills. This calls for researching the right affiliate programs and learning from them before thinking of starting one. It might take a huge deal of effort, but it will be worth it.
What are the Types of Online Business?
Having successful online businesses is no simple feat. It takes a lot of effort, perseverance, patience, knowledge, and, yes, money. With your spending capital on your business, you must ensure that it is not going to waste. On that point, here are some of the suggested businesses you can open via digital platforms.
Launching Your e-Commerce Store
If you are an entrepreneur who knows about selling different items via the internet, having your e-commerce store might be the right option for you. In this platform, you can offer a variety of items, including:
- home items
- office and home furniture
- home decor
- personal hygiene products
- school supplies
- pet supplies
Indeed, the sky is the limit. You just have to make sure that there is a demand for the products you are selling. With that, studying the market is necessary to determine if you will be profitable. After all, you do not want to open an e-commerce store and have it close a few months later because of a lack of customers. You might end up with a shutdown business and tons of unsold merchandise.
Also, when you open your e-commerce platform, make sure that it is integrated with a trusted payment gateway. This is to assure that the customers can pay for the items conveniently and safely.
Opening Your Online Dropshipping Business
If you still want to be in the online retail business but do not want to keep an inventory, an online dropshipping business might be for you. When dropshipping, you purchase the items from third-party stores and have them ship it directly to the customers. You are serving as an intermediary, in essence. With that arrangement, you will not need to maintain and monitor your inventory. Also, you will not need to shell out big capital for your inventory. Indeed, it is an online business without investment, or only a little money is required in order to start.
However, you must be careful when onboarding a particular store. You have to vet these stores first before doing business with them. In that way, you can be sure that they offer quality products and can deliver goods safely. Research is a must.
Providing Content Writing Services for Various Websites
As the business landscape transforms, content marketing has become a booming field. With this, demand for different content such as blog posts, social media posts, video and audio, and web pages has been increasing. This is an opportunity you can take advantage of if you have the appropriate skills—and of course, passion.
If you observe, many websites are poorly handled or even idle because most business owners are focused on running the companies first. With this, they hire people who have great content writing skills to keep their websites and social media pages updated. In this way, their customers will know that they are still operating. As they say, it is important to have an active digital footprint so your customers will not easily forget you.
Launching Your Own News Site
Information is king. No one can deny that. That is why people visit news sites frequently to be updated on the latest happenings in the world. They need to be updated because certain events can affect them on a personal level. They also want to be informed so they will know the relevant happenings.
With this, creating your news site is one of the most effective methods of generating online traffic. You can monetize this with the help of Google Adsense and other advertising agencies.
If you are keen on doing this, you must be updated yourself all the time. You also need to develop good writing skills so you can finish an article quickly. Why? You have to be among the first news sites to break the news, so people will read you first. If you are the last one to post, you might end up on the last web results pages. You would not want that because it means less online traffic.
Offering Service in Graphics Designing
If you are an artist, offering graphics designing services online is an option for you. Your potential clients may commission you to do web design, logo design, and business card design. You can target those businesses that are up-and-coming because they are the ones looking to cement their branding. After all, a unique logo can help businesses make lasting impressions on their customers.
If you have the talent for it, you can also be commissioned to paint or sell your art paintings. There are different online platforms, like Amazon, that are allowing artists to sell their artwork online. Sign up in one of them so you can market your art.
Learn to Understand Your Target Audience
How do you get to know your target audience? You can do so by getting into their heads and studying their behavior over time. Your target audience is one key ingredient in succeeding when it comes to how to start an online business. You must define your audience by demographics through age, location, lifestyle, and marital status. You need to read what your audience read, watch what they watch, and engage with them through an online conversation. Even if it means setting up an interview with one or two agents of your target audience to get to know their interests and problems, set it up.
By creating time to understand your customer’s values and attitudes, you develop a great product and find the smartest tactics to promote and market your business.
Study Your Competitors and Learn From Their Mistakes and Success
Before you think about starting an online business, you must analyze the competitors in your niche. You have to be prepared. However, small the online business may be, it attracts competitors from all levels, whether direct, indirect, or substitute competitors. And therefore, you should ask yourself some valuable questions on what you can offer than what already exists in the market. Observe your competition within your niche and try to pinpoint some of the weak points and opportunity openings. Get a clear overview of how your competitors advertise themselves. You must be able to differentiate your online business so you can stand out among your competitors.
How then do you do that? You can visit their websites using developed application software such as Alexa, Google Trends, and Ahrefs, among others. These apps will give you all that you need concerning the traffic volumes, visitor’s locations, pertinent keywords, and more about backlink strategy.
Again, you have the luxury to learn and get inspired by your competitor’s content marketing and customer service. Study how they respond to feedback comments and conducting discussions.
Develop a Website for Your Online Business
This is probably one of the most significant steps you have to take when starting an online business. Online presence is a must because the marketplace is all digital. If you are not there, you do not exist in the eyes of your customers.
Once you have identified your niche, it would be appropriate to get your website. Your website should stand out, and for that reason, there are basics features it should possess:
- Ensure that it is faster, responsive, and protected
- Ensure that it is modestly coded and SEO-optimized
- It should offer payment options in case your business requires them
- Ensure it has a professional look and is distinct
- It should be user-friendly
It gets even better if you are looking at how to start an online business, and you already have a name for your business. Your business name should be unique, short, and catchy. You would want your customers to always remember your company or have a good recall. Remember that your business name should be descriptive – at least it tells more about your business. Again, you must test your concepts on your target audience and observe the response.
On a particular occasion, you may decide to use the web as a platform to sell a product (cosmetics, clothing) or a service like graphic design or consultancy; you may gain more through using an existing platform. E-commerce platforms offer you that edge over hiring a web designer to develop a website from scratch.
Legitimize Your Online Business
Just like the brick-and-mortar businesses, legalizing your online business is significant. This entails online company registration in Malaysia, incorporation, formation, and planning for operations. Note that certain laws governing the dissemination of your customer’s personal information and matters of intellectual property guidelines. Therefore, before you think about how to start an online business, you need to look at your business’s legal side. You need to acquire that online business license.
Doing your research on this one is needed, so you will not be operating in the dark. It might also be helpful to acquire services from a Malaysian corporate service provider. They can guide you every step of the way because these firms have expertise in the field. But then again, it depends on your budget.
Protecting Your Online Customers
This act is regulating the processing of personal information during commercial transactions. Businesses that do not adhere to the policy will be fined with an amount ranging from RM 100,000 to half a million or be imprisoned for one to three years.
As the law defines, personal data is information directly or indirectly related to the person transacting with your business. These include sensitive information such as name, identity card number, date of birth, and mobile number, among others.
Should you opt to outsource the personal data processing with a third party, remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that your service provider can protect the information. Your data processor should be able to safeguard the data from:
- potential loss
- unauthorized access or disclosure
Keeping the personal data of your customers safe is also a way to build trust. And we all know that trust can go a long way for your business.
Getting the Word Out
Like any business, you need to advertise your venture to attract customers and develop a client base. After all, your business depends on the number and frequency of your clients. And if you are serious about your online business, you have to maintain your network.
There are several ways to advertise your online business. You can do it via Facebook advertising and Google AdWords advertising, to name a few. Besides, you can do email marketing and post advertisements on other channels such as newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. Just make sure to choose which is the most effective for your business and target market.
Summing It Up
When you are learning how to start an online business, you might feel overwhelmed with all the information you are taking. Indeed, developing your online business and growing it is not easy. Starting an online business will depend on how best you’re ready to take up the challenge. You’ll need to have a proper business plan that lays out your intentions or purpose on where you want your online business to go.
If you need help in setting up your online business, reach out to 3E Accounting. We are a team of excellent professionals ready to help you in your business. Contact us today.