How to Start a Small Business Online Successfully: Tips and Cautions

Edna B. Shearer

So you are ready to start your small online business. You have completed the preliminary research. You know there is a market for your product. You have tested the product with real users and made adjustments based on their responses. You know your product is ready to sell.

But a great product is just the start. Your next step happens to be finding out your audience. It means finding people interested in what you have to offer and reaching them with the right messages. Here are some helpful hints for the betterment of your startups.

Get to know your market

Today’s customers want to feel like brands are talking to them directly. Take into account that:

91% of consumers are more likely to buy brands that personalize their delivery

72% are only interested in marketing that is focused on their interests

As a brand new small business online, when you take the time to learn more about your audience, you can deliver this kind of personalized and engaging content, right off the bat.

Identify your audience

If you already have customers, you can use their data to create a preliminary audience profile. Payload data points include:

  • The age group
  • Family status
  • The profession
  • Spending habits
  • Areas of interest

How you collect this information happens to be up to you. Some new businesses like to go directly to and survey their customers. For other businesses, it makes more sense to refer to social media marketing and use analytics tools on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

You don’t have a clientele yet? No problem! You can learn a lot about your customers just by analyzing your product and service offering and the target market. If you happen to be starting a city bike start-up, you can, for example, securely assume that your audience comprises physically strong city dwellers. With this idea in mind, take a look around your network to find people who fit this description and ask them to participate in your market research.

Build your website

Especially for a small online business, a visually pleasing and easy to navigate website is essential. Keep in mind what type of customers you are trying to attract and what they want in an online experience. Should the tone be more relevant or more informative? Do they primarily research online or will they order products directly from your site? If you already have an existing e-commerce website, be sure to connect your store to optimize your marketing.

Choose a relevant domain name

In order for your customers to find you online, you first need a domain name. When you buy a domain name, make it memorable to your customers. It should be as close as possible to your business name: an exact name if possible, or a logical approximation if your business name is already taken as a domain.

Save money by creating your own website

Web design can be expensive – up to $ 10,000, even for a small online business. You’ll save a lot of money using a tool like website builder that lets you customize and update your website. If you need to grow your business and start selling online fast, consider building shoppable landing pages, so you can start selling and building an audience while you build your website.

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