Are you looking for how to start an online business with or without capital? If you are new to the internet, then know that you don’t need to be a pro to start your own business online.
With an online business you can have a business that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, make your products or services available to anyone in any country and also have opportunities to manage your business from anywhere in the world.
What makes a business an online business is the ability to transact online and the best part about online businesses is that it can be carried out with the help of computers, tablets, or smartphones.
Ready to learn how to start your own online business in Nigeria? Then is guide is for you.
In this guide, we’ll explain to you how to start an online business within your existing space and means. We’ll break it down for you and explain how you can start an an online business easily from anywhere.
What is Online business?
Online business is a business model that allows firms and individuals to buy and sell things over the internet. Just as you can make a phone call from anywhere to another person in a different place, that is just how online businesses works too. You can sell or buy product and services from anywhere in the world.
Online business can help smaller businesses establish a wider market presence by providing cheaper and more efficient distribution channels for their products or services. And anyone can go from asking themselves, “What is an online business?” to building their very own online business in weeks, months, or years.
How to Start an Online Business
Getting started with an online business is just like starting a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll either need a lot of time or a lot of money to spend. If you have both, then clearly, you’re ahead of the game.
But considering that time is finite and working capital is a crucial fund; and that is going to determine the success and failure of your business. Make sure you manage your time and money wisely to ensure your business success.
To start an online business in Nigeria, you don’t need to register your business with CAC or company or write a business plan before you can start.
To start an online business, you will need two important things that can’t be avoid, which are;
- Phone or Pc: You can venture into some online business by making use of your mobile phone or laptop. But having a laptop will surely gives you a better advantage.
- Business Idea: To be a business owner you must have a product or service you can offer to the world. Your niche idea (business idea) is what you want to offer to the public that will yield an income for you.
You can start and grow successful businesses by doing carrying out the following steps.
There is a proven sequence of steps that has been used by other business owners to start there online business that you too can follow to guarantee your business success.
Step 1: Start a Business that Fills a Need
To start a successful online business, you must know exactly what product you want to sell or service you want to render that can be generating passive income for you.
Most people who are just starting an online business make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second. To boost your chances of success in online business, start with a market i.e. a problem to solve.
To start an online business, you can only do is three things to make money:
- Selling of digital products like ebooks, software, online course, etc., or selling of physical products like shoes, makeup kit, health products, gadgets, etc.
- Rendering services to corporate firms or individuals, or build your own company that render services online. e.g. Website development, Copywriting, Fashion designer, App development, Shoe cobbler, etc.
- Promoting companies or other people’s products or services as an affiliate marketer.
But before digging the internet, take a step back and assess two things: the marketplace (niche) and your abilities (passion or skill) which must be equals to a niche.
To discover your niche, you can jot down what are you passionate about? Next, align it with list of what others in the society needs that’s within your passion. The two assets must check off both of those boxes to discover your business idea.
Next research which business idea is really demanding under your niche that people will surely pay for if you offer it. You can simply detect demanding business idea by looking into problems a group of people in your niche are looking for solutions to but couldn’t find many or any results. You can discover those by using;
#1: Social Groups
#3: Affiliate Marketing Program
Checking out what most bloggers in your niche are promoting the most to show the solution people are buying. You can also start blogging about it and start making money online.
#4: Niche Keyword Research
Carry out keyword research to discover keywords that a lot of people are searching, but don’t have a much competition with other sites in your niche, then solve the challenges the audiences are facing.
#5: Trending Products
If you will love to go into ecommerce, you can learn how to discover trending products in your niche that people are demanding for. From this, you can set up an online store to start selling the products your audiences needed.
#6: Trade your Skill
If you are an expert in a niche, you can simply use what you’ve learned (skill) to create another product for a market that already exists — and do it better your the competition. For example, if you are a dropshipping expert, you can create an online course, ebook, and paid membership group to teach people what you are good at.
Now that you have learned how to discover demanding business ideas by looking into problems people actually need solution for, the next step is to validate your business idea.
Step 2: Testing your Business Idea
Once you’ve got your market and the product or product idea you want to sell online, you still need to think, research, and validate the business idea you have selected before focusing on it.
You first need to check yourself;
- to know if you have the capability and understanding to manage the business.
- to discover if you have the required skill(s) and knowledge for the business – which you can take on online platform like Udemy to learn the skill(s).
- and to research the challenges of the business before taking any action.
Testing Ecommerce Product(s) Idea
If you are going to be selling products, next, you need to test product to know if there are buyers for it. The best way to go about it is to market the product(s) online without having it yet, which you can do by:
- making use of social media to get potential customers to buy it.
- making use of your marketing ability and strategies to promote the business product.
- running a social media campaign such as Facebook ads to promote the business product.
- cold emailing potential audiences who may likely buy.
Just make use of all the marketing strategies you know to give you an insight into what people thought of the product you are offering, and also an insight into your own marketing skill.
You can even bought a few sample of the products from Aliexpress or Alibaba, and sell the products online to see if people are actually interested in the product, and to discover if you actually know how to market products online.
All this approach is to give you a basic knowledge about the business product – maybe is sellable or not, and also to basic knowledge about your audience – in order to prevent wastage of time and effort if the business idea is not right for you.
If your business idea is not acceptable to your potential audience, you can look into another business idea and test again, but if the business idea is well accepted by your potential audiences, congratulation, you are now ready to present the business worldwide.
Testing Affiliate Product(s) or service(s) Idea
If you are going to start affiliate marketing business, the best way to test run your ideal products is to promote the affiliate products or affiliate services on forum like Quora, etc, or run a cold email – to discover if there are people in need of the products(s) or services. and to also discover if you actually know how to promote products effectively online.
Testing Service Rendering Idea
If you want to go into service rendering such as Web development, Animation making, Video production, Content writing, etc – there is no way you can test run your business idea then to discover yourself and passion for the business.
If you know the career is something you are passionate about and which to render as a service online, the best way to go about it is to believe in yourself and just go for it.
Now that you have test run your idea, the next step is to build a portfolio for your business.
Step 3: Creating Online Presence for your Business
If you have a shop that does not mean you have an online business until you put it on the internet for people to see. And for you to say you have an online business, your business must have an online presence I.e. must have a website, blog, or social pages( Instagram handle, Facebook page.)
To choose an online presence for your business, discover where your competitors are, and where your potential audiences spend their money the most.
For example, if your competitors and audience are using Instagram the most, you can also choose Instagram for your online presence, then further research how to beat your competitors with other marketing strategies.
You can also start by choosing the best platform to showcase your products or services — i.e on a platform that can scale with you instead of holding you back.
You can set up any one or all of the below online presence for your online business
- Social media Business Page
- Google my Business
- Ecommerce Marketplace
- Personal Website/Blog
#1: Social media Business Page
In this 21st century, a new business can easily start an online business from social media and build reputation as a business. With social media, you can reach out to your potential customers with ease and also gain the attention of new customers faster.
Most big companies like Amazon, Aliexpress, Jumia, etc, are all taking advantage of the social platforms to drive sales. As a product seller, freelancer, or corporate business, you can set up a social media profile for your business to start an online business.
To get started, create social media profiles for your business and begin interacting with potential customers, regular posting of contents that will induce people to “like” and “share” your page, and the more people who know about your business, the better.
Simply having people interact with your content will increase your business awareness and begin building your reputation as a business. Each of your posts shared will induce a new network of individuals, which can lead them to become potential customers.
#2: Personal website/blog
Having a business website or a blog for your business will make things easier for you as customers can purchase your product without calling your phone number, receive payment for any product or service purchase without leaving your house, and your store or company will be available 24/7 without closing hour.
As a freelancer or corporate firm, having a portfolio website will not only serve as a platform to save your project but also display the previous projects you have done that can induce a prospective client to hire you online.
As a product seller, you can create an online store to market and sell your products which you can power with a blog or social media to attract potential customers -all without leaving your home.
As an affiliate marketer, having a blog will helps in keeping customers informed and engaging with your product and services you are promoting. With a blog, you can earn more and more online.
Generally having a business site can help give customers an easy way to contact you, learn more about your business online.
#3: Google my Business
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use platform for businesses that lets you show up in search results when people are looking for your business online.
As a corporate firm or a business owner with an offline shop or office, Google My Business can provide an online presence for your business across Google, including Search and Maps.
Google My Business ensures that when someone looks your business up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Your Google business profile can show potential customers your listing i.e shows your business contacts and location, where and how to visit your shop or office, the kind of products you sell or services rendered.
A marketplace is a platform where small businesses compete with each other to sell their products or offer their service(s). It usually consists of buyers and sellers who interact with each other to facilitate a transaction.
If you don’t want to bother yourself with marketing or generating your own customers from scratch, then marketplace is for you. Those marketplaces are platforms to boost sales and grow your business online.
Now that you have know understand where you can sell your products, or render your service, the next thing to do is to cone up with a business name.
Step 4: Coming up with Your Business Name
One of the things to understand while coming up with your business name is that giving your business a great business name won’t totally make-or-break your business, but it can make an impact and make your business stand out.
But you also need to know that if there are major flaws with your product or service, your day-to-day operations or even your customer service, even a great name will do nothing for your business.
Here is How to Come up with a Business Name
- Use your own name. For example, Neil Patel am expert digital marketer.
- Use acronyms instead of using full names. For example, if your business is named ‘Varsity Marketing Agency,’ consider going by VMA, just like BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
- Create mash-ups name from your imagination of what your business is going to be about. For example, Evernote (from “forever” and “note”), and Netflix (“internet” and “flicks”).
- Get inspiration from mythology and literature. For example, “Channel Aphrodite” ( the goddess of beauty) – can go for a beauty brand. A brand name like “Bacchus” for a wine shop.
- Use obvious words. For example, A name like “BabyPalace” – which shows you are running a baby store, or “SaladGo” which can also shows that you’re running an eatery that specializes in salads.
- Use foreign words. For example, A non-native language can make your business seem exotic and memorable for customers such as a tea shop with a Japanese or French name, etc.
- Use a name generator to come up with a business name. For example, Namelix, Biznamewiz, Naminum, Novanym, etc.
A great analogy to coming up with any business name is the drawing of comparison between your business and what product you are going to be selling, or the service you are going to be rendering.
Your business way must go well with the service you are rendering. You need to put a little more time, focus, and effort into it.
See different business tools you can make use of to start, launch and grow your business. See here.
Tips for Building a Successful Online Business
After setting up your business online, it is important for you to;
- pick a name that’s unique, relevant, and memorable
- leverage the power of social media; is not optional
- be available online to provide the necessary information, tips, advice to your potential customers
- be posting engaging content like free guides, promotions, discounts, giveaway contests, quotes, etc to buy audiences’ attention.
- give affiliate marketing a chance to promote your product to boost your sales.
- build up your loyal customer list by offering quality service and customer support
- build a community around your brand or business
- think big and go global
The concept “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply in online businesses, you will need to promote your products and services after having an online presence by posting engaging content regularly on social media, website, blog, etc.
You also need to build trust with potential customers so that they will perceive your business as credible and completely worth their time.
And finally, note that business isn’t easy, and at some point, it will test you.
Lets recap all we have said concealing creating an online business;
- #1: Start a business that fills a need
- #2: Discover your niche by researching problems people are looking for solution to.
- #3: Test your business idea before starting
- #4 Create an online presence for your business
That’s it. we hope this guide helped you learn how to start an online business.
Note! If you need a Website, Online store, blog, business flyer, business logo, or want to set up your own business page, don’t hesitate to contact us. we can do any for you.
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