The current health crisis has affected every possible industry and business sector, leaving many people without work and many uncertain about their financial future. Then again, e-commerce has experienced a boom in the past months precisely because people are switching to online shopping more than ever – as if the trend wasn’t on an upward trajectory already.
Companies have had to switch to a remote business model to preserve their operations as much as possible. In the midst of all those changes, people are eager to reclaim their financial stability by whatever means possible, including innovation and entrepreneurship, perhaps the most commendable of strategies to achieve such noble goals in life.
Kick-starting an online business startup takes ample preparation, and plenty of expertise to build your business upon, to serve as your foundation.
Whether you still have a job and you’re merely looking into lucrative professional opportunities to provide another source of income, or you want to devote all of your time and effort to your new business, your options are practically endless.
With the right tools at hand, a touch of automation in several processes, and some smart investments, you can start your own online business from the comfort of your home. Here, we’ll delve deep into the steps you should take to start your online business in these trying times, and hopefully, help you develop a brand that will stand the test of time.
Choose a lucrative niche
There are several key factors that go into making this decision: your expertise, experience, and the trends that are shaping each market right now. There’s no sense in starting a business in a sector that’s slowly dwindling or already hanging by a thread. You need to combine your professional strengths with what’s currently in high demand. Otherwise, you risk starting an online business that will only become a burden on your existing income.
Some of the most promising industries include sustainable goods, innovative tech solutions, and digital services. With so many businesses in need of stellar marketing, advanced software solutions, and tech-savvy staff, there are numerous niches within each of the listed categories with ample room for another player. Once you find the perfect niche for you, it’s time to move forward with branding.
Build an authentic brand identity
Even the most promising and lucrative of industries come with a slew of challenges. For starters, most are extremely competitive and existing businesses will hardly make it easy for your business to thrive.
What’s more, companies today already try their best to stand out, and as an online business, you’ll need clear differentiation in order to stand out. You will need to build a unique and authentic brand identity for your business.
However, as a new business with a limited budget (to which we’ll get in a moment), you need to make the most of as many free branding tools out there.
That will allow you to reduce your expenditures and at the same time bring your brand to life with the following key elements:
● A memorable logo that will boost your brand recognition.
● A color scheme for your website and other digital outlets you’ll use to communicate.
● Images and photos to enrich your website and social media with visually-striking content.
● A set of values and a core purpose for your brand that will define your brand’s voice and permeate all of your storytelling.
Cover your legal basis from the start
You need to register your business, obtain a domain address for your website, and of course, set up your business structure before you move forward. Luckily, there are legal professionals out there who can help you do all of that at a fair price, or depending on your location, there might be simplified online procedures you can follow, especially in current circumstances. Many countries have introduced such online forms for registering a company, to ensure more social distancing and to make it easier for entrepreneurs to legalize their presence.
Set up your communication strategy
To run your online business effectively from home, you need a simple, but effective communication strategy in place, one that will merge all of your needs to communicate with investors, business partners, customers or clients, vendors, influencers, and the like. You should be able to provide excellent customer service from home, and respond to all queries in time.
For that, you should use a unified platform based on VoIP technology – voice over internet protocol tech that is designed to simplify communications and make them far more affordable for new small businesses.
Before you pick a provider, look into trusted VoIP solutions and their latest reviews to see who would make the best fit for your needs. Look for a provider with a number of useful features within the same package, including emailing, faxing, phone calls, all the way to analytics tools and chat. With one platform, you can keep all of your interactions in one place and always under your control.
Establish a strong digital presence
Now that you’ve chosen your niche, your business is legally set up, and your communication with the world all set – you should craft a powerful digital presence to represent your company online.
It’s your online storefront, the main set of touchpoints for your customers to interact with your business.
Nowadays, digital presence encompasses a few key puzzle pieces that will boost your brand visibility, enable you to collaborate with influencers, and of course, engage with your target audience more effectively.
Here are a few key elements that you need for a strong digital presence:
- A clean, easy-to-navigate, sleek website.
- Pages on those social networks where your customers reside, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Presence in relevant business directories for greater credibility, growing your reputation online over time, and leaving more room for people to leave reviews.
- Having your own account in a reliable service for finding orders and meeting with customers.
With a concrete example, we will show how the Quasa Connect blockchain service works, setting up transactions between freelancers and clients using new crypto settlement tools.
By connecting your crypto-wallet, a freelancer or customer instantly settles among themselves using the Quasacoin (QUA) cryptocurrency.
The new crypto-settlement tools in QUASA democratize access to services traditionally tied to fiat money and banks, and open up opportunities for hundreds of millions of people. You are not tied to the currency of any country, and you can easily hire any specialist from anywhere in the world and calmly pay for his work.
There is no need for conversion and complexities with banking operations. No need to know the laws of different countries.
Ensure your budget is under control
Depending on your industry and your business model, starting a business online from home can demand a very reasonable sum of money, or it can be extremely strenuous on your budget.
For example, e-commerce ventures by nature require larger initial investments, whereas if you’re merely offering your professional services (be it digital marketing, web design, or strategizing), you need a clear overview of your expected expenses for the first year of your existence.
By creating a clear budget plan for your new online business, you’ll avoid making numerous financial mistakes, which will in turn increase the profitability of your business and boost its stability in the market. In case you plan to grow your business further, a well-defined budget plan will make your brand more appealing to potential investors down the line, as well. Pro tip: always leave some wiggle room in your budget for adapting on the go, and always create an emergency fund that will help you stay afloat in case of a crisis.
Rely on automation tools to keep things simple
Your website won’t manage itself, and your phone calls won’t take care of themselves. While you’re running your business from home, most often on your own, you have to prioritize. That means that you simply need to find those menial tasks in your day that you can automate and then focus all of your attention and energy on those crucial tasks for running your business.
For example, marketing automation is extremely effective , as it allows you to automate social media posts, schedule email campaigns, and measure and track the success of your campaigns. Plus, you can use automation tools to research keywords, which would otherwise be an extremely time-consuming process, thus saving you hours or precious time to spend on more pressing matters.
Don’t forget about your home office
Finally, in order to stay productive and successfully keep your business going while working from home, you need to create an environment for yourself that will inspire you to devote your time and focus to your business. Set up a designated space for your home office, even if it’s just a corner in your living room with a desk and a chair at your disposal.
You should make sure to minimize distractions, so if you don’t live alone and cannot turn a room into an office, you can invest in noise-canceling headphones, a high-quality work laptop, and an ergonomic chair to protect your posture. Make sure not to use your work equipment for social interactions and your personal social media – that will be a challenge at first, but as soon as you master the art of work from home, you’ll be able to be productive and limit your work hours every day.
Final Thoughts on Starting Your Online Business from Home
There are many reasons why having an online business is a great investment. But, you don't just want to start and launch an online business, you want to make it thrive by applying the strategies mentioned above.
There are other steps you can include in your strategy depending on your business model, for example, whether you’re starting an e-commerce business or you’re about to provide digital marketing services to a variety of global clients. Whatever model you choose and whichever industry you select, you’ll need to make sure to use the listed steps in your own approach, as well.
They are the basis for all future growth for your online business, and they enable you a stable structure for your online operations. Use these tips to set up your online business from home, and by the time the pandemic ends, let us hope you’ll have a strong and stable business on your hands ready to win over thousands of customers across the globe.
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