Easy step-by-step guide for starting an online business in 2023
In this post, you will learn how to build your online business when you are just starting or thinking about expanding your existing business online for the first time.
Table of contents
- Finding a niche for your online business
- First 7 steps to start building your online business
- Validating your online business idea
- Create a business plan
- Continue iterating
Building an online business is an exciting journey. An online business can be started without significant investments, making it a unique business type. An online business can also be an expansion of an existing company that operates offline.
Now that you are thinking about starting your online business, you are already one step closer to having your online business operations up and running.
By the end of this post, you should be able to take that first concrete step toward having your online business alive.
Finding a niche for your online business
Every business is fundamentally trying to solve some problems by providing unique solutions. This is also true for building and running an online business.
Think of a problem
The first step in building an online business is finding a problem to solve. This could be close to your heart or something completely unrelated to your own life.
Usually, it would be best if you didn’t have to overthink the problem you are trying to solve too much. Many businesses are built today around non-existent issues which can be doomed to fail.
Find a solution
Once you’ve pinpointed the problem you want to solve, it’s time to think of a solution. Like thinking of a problem to solve, finding a solution for your issue shouldn’t be too complicated.
Good businesses are built around evident problems with easy-to-understand solutions. Typically, your customers want an easy fix to their problem that saves them time and provides them exact value.
Come up with a unique angle
When you have your problem and solution figured out, you develop the unique angle that makes you stand out from the crowd.
This is where you can get creative around your problem and solution. While your business gets built around an existing problem with a clear solution, your angle and approach to it should be something unique that makes your customers feel valued.
First 7 steps to start building your online business
Just thinking about problems, solutions, and angles doesn’t get your business very far, but you also need to get something actual and concrete in front of your potential future customers.
Here are a few steps you can begin with to start building your online business based on your problem, solution, and angle you have come up with to do your online business around.
The very first concrete step to take when building your online business is to start writing things down. Keeping all your ideas in your head is not a good idea and writing things down helps you organize your thoughts much better.
You can use a pen and paper for this or a free tool like Google Keep to write your notes and thoughts down.
If you want to go with a more advanced tool for note-taking and brainstorming, Notion should be your best option, to begin with. Notion should fulfill all your needs in the long run for all your note-taking and organizing of your thoughts and ideas.
Choosing a name
Giving a name for your online business idea is one of the most significant decisions you can make when starting your online business journey. Naming your online business idea has the effect of bringing it alive and making it tangible.
When you are thinking of a name for your online business, try to think of a name that somehow relates to your niche, problem, or your solution and angle. Your business name should be unique in one way or another.
As you start getting ideas for a potential name, you need to check if the name you have come up with is available across different online platforms. There is a great free tool called Namecheckr that lets you validate the availability of your name.
Buy a domain name
Buying a domain name is usually the first investment you will make when starting your online business. Once you have decided on a good name for your online business that is available as a .COM domain name and in your desired social media channels, it’s time to lock down your name and buy the domain.
Having a .COM ending domain is a sign of authority, so any serious business always has .COM adding domain for their business. It isn’t necessary to have a .COM ending domain for your online business, but having one is highly encouraged.
If a .COM ending domain name is available for your online business name, buying the domain name can be done through many domain registrars, such as GoDaddy.
It is also possible that the .COM domain name is owned by someone trying to sell the domain name in the domain name aftermarket. If that is the case, GoDaddy also provides you the option to buy domain names from the aftermarket.
Get a business email
When you are starting your journey of building your online business, you will inevitably be reaching out to potential customers, clients, or followers shortly.
It’s good to create a business email as you have decided on a name for your online business. Having a business email that corresponds with your business name is highly encouraged when you communicate with people via email.
You will also sign up to many different online services and platforms using an email address, so having a business email for all these sign-ups is an excellent way to manage your business-related communication through your newly acquired business email.
You can use a widely popular email service such as Gmail and create a new Google account with your business name to get a business email. It’s also possible to get an email address and your newly acquired domain name while registering it with GoDaddy for a few extra dollars.
After you have a domain name and an email for your new online business, the next step would be to create all your social media accounts for your online business.
The most popular social media platforms for building your brand are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest.
Get a logo
Getting a logo for your online business is an excellent way, along with naming your business, to bring it alive and make it more tangible. A logo is the most visible part of your online business presence, which people will remember when they see your business online on different platforms and services.
To get a logo for your online business, you can use Canva, a very beginner-friendly software that allows you to create a logo for your online business in minutes without much design skills. Canva has many free logo design templates you can use and an extensive library of premium designs.
It is also highly recommended to hire an actual designer to design a logo for your online business. To hire a designer, you can use a service such as Fiverr or Upwork, which both have many freelance graphic designers who would gladly design a logo for your online business.
Write your first copy
Writing good copy is essential for running an online business. You need to write good copy for your website, blog, social media, and communicating with your customers and clients.
Your first copywriting should focus on writing a punch line for your online business and the first iteration of your business in general. It would help if you concentrate on writing a clear copy about the problem your online business is trying to solve, the solution your business is providing, and the angle you are taking.
Today, many AI writing tools help you write good copy for your online business. Grammarly enables you to maintain grammatically correct copy by checking spelling and grammar errors and making sure you are following a uniform writing style.
Jasper is an AI tool that can act as your writing assistant if you face writer’s block and are having a hard time writing a copy yourself.
However, finding a good copywriter for your online business is highly recommended. You can find professional copywriters from services such as Fiverr and Upwork.
Validating your online business idea
Getting your business idea validated by potential clients and customers is highly encouraged. Validating your business idea gives you a better idea of how your clients and customers face the problem your business is trying to solve and their pain points specifically.
Getting your business idea validated to some degree should always be one of the first steps you are taking when starting a new online business.
Friends and family
Reaching potential customers when you start building your online business can sometimes be tricky. If you find it overwhelming to talk to your potential clients and customers about your business, try to get feedback from some friends and family members.
Cold email outreach
Cold emailing your potential clients, customers, and followers is an excellent way to try to start a conversation regarding your new online business. Try to find a few emails from Google by searching with some keywords related to your niche. Browse the results and look for potential emails. You could also find your first leads from social platforms such as LinkedIn.
Social media is a great way to spread your new brand and business idea. Many social media platforms have communities you could join and start discussions with many people.
Create a business plan
Now that you have made the first steps with getting your online business off the ground by finding a problem to solve with your unique angle and creating the first draft of your online business, it’s time to make a business plan.
While creating a business plan might not be necessary, it is also highly encouraged as it helps you to understand your business and everything involved better.
A business plan is almost always required when seeking funding for your new business.
Starting your online business can seem like a challenging task, which it is to some degree, but it is also a fascinating and rewarding experience.
Building an online business doesn’t happen overnight, and it should be approached as a long journey ahead. As you start building your online business and start growing, you’ll keep learning more and more as you make more progress.
Building an online business can be seen as iterations that follow each other. You keep improving and optimizing; you make mistakes, reach your goal, and sometimes face challenges.
When building your online business, a good quote to remember is:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
It’s a good idea to have people around you to help build your online business.