Before you start an online business you should know what your options are. There are many different E-Business models out there and they each require a different skill set. This section will briefly go over the different types of E-Business models.
Why You Should Start An Online Business Now!
The internet is maturing and becoming a more stable place. In the beginning, conducting business online was risky and unpredictable. But now, with more people online than ever before (and those numbers are predicted to increase for many years to come), online business has become safer and more productive. People are becoming more and more comfortable purchasing online.
Online retail sales in the U.S. alone are expected to reach $335 billion by the year 2012 (According to studies done by Forrester Research). There are over 238 million internet users in the U.S. and in the online world they aren’t limited by location.
The internet makes it easy for someone with no start up capital to start a business and start making money. You can create a website for free and the cost of hosting and maintaining it are getting cheaper and cheaper.
There is very low overhead and with that there is the potential of achieving financial freedom and making really good money. The great thing about all this is that physical location is not an issue, so you can work from home! You’re not limited to the people in your geographical area. You can sell to virtually anyone on the planet. And because you’ll be self employed, you can work when you want and as much as you want.
eCommerce applications are becoming more accessible and easier to use, thereby allowing novices to compete with the bigger companies. In regards to the tools required to start an online business, they are cheap and easy to use so you can start right away.
The demand, still out ways the supply, for many niches. Even if your niche has a lot of competition, there’s always room for more.
What Type of Online Business Is Right For You?
The next step after deciding if you want to start an online business is to find out what kind of online business you want to run. You should choose a business that you’re passionate about and be sure to choose something that you’d be willing to stick with for a long time. Carefully choosing your business, will pay off in the end.
Thinking In The Long Term
Not all businesses will become giants like Amazon or eBay. Many businesses will take years before they reach their peak in sales.
Even though there are business’s that only take advantage of short term trends and do very well, the majority of those business’s never reach their full potential for that market. By choosing a business that will last into the long term, you’ll have the time to learn, develop and take over in your chosen market. Think tortoise and the hare.
The Many Faces Of Online Business
All online business models generally fall into two categories: business to consumer and business to business. In some cases your product may be applicable to both business and individuals.
Knowing whether your customers will be from a business or from individuals will allow you to create a better marketing plan. Keep in mind that both types of customers require very different business models.
Here are some of the ways you can create revenue online:
Etail: if you have a brick and mortar site and you offer your products online, you have an etail site.
Storefront: A strictly online store where you have no actual physical business but you sell products online, either through drop shipping or by shipping out your own products.
Service Business: You don’t always have to sell a product; you can also sell your services.
Content site: Information is a commodity and can be sold online in the form of an information product or you can distribute it for free and receive income through advertisements.
Applications and programs: People are always looking for an app/program to do some task for them. Some people are willing to pay a large amount of money for an app/program, especially if it will save them money and time in the long run. Shopping cart apps and accounting software are two examples.
The First Steps
So you’ve decided to start an online business but now what?
Here are some steps to help you get started:
Make a commitment to yourself. If you’re going to start an online business you’ll need to be committed to it. This is not something you can do halfway and be successful at.
Identify your business model. Take into consideration your hobbies, skills and past experiences and decide which business model is best for you.
Clarify exactly what you want. When setting goals you should write down exactly what you want on paper. If you know what you want you’re more likely to get it.
Consult family members and friends. After developing a clear vision of exactly what you want, talk to your friends and family up about it. Getting an outsider’s opinion will help you work out kinks in your idea.
Further clarify your business idea. Now that you’ve figured out the holes in your business idea it’s time to further develop their bulletproof business idea.
Make a time-line. Write down all the steps required to achieve your goal and set a date to them. This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed and it will keep you focused.