4 Things You MUST Have Before Starting Any Online Business

Smart and savyStarting an online business takes dedication and hard work. It also takes time to lay a foundation that will help you meet your goals and be successful because a great idea without proper planning, marketing, and exposure will most likely be nothing more than a great idea.

There are four things you must have in order to launch a successful online business:

1. Business Model

It’s true that you can start an online business with a relatively small investment. However, it is not free to start any online business.

If you want to earn money in any business, you need to be willing to invest in things like marketing, web design, accounting and all the other resources that make a business run.

But, before you invest in your business, or ask others to invest, you need a viable business model.

A solid business model will outline the type of business you want to create, where you want to take your business, a strategy, objectives, tactics and a list of things you need to learn to successfully carry out your plan. Without this, you will waste a lot of valuable time on tasks that are not helping you grow your business or increase your income.

Remember, the most successful online businesses spend a significant amount of time planning and strategizing for success.

2. Website

It is almost impossible these days to have a successful business, even a bricks and mortar one, without a website. It makes it possible for people to find you, contact you and purchase your goods or services.

Your website should clearly communicate your message and brand and it should look professional. It needs to include:

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  • An “About” section that showcases your experience
  • A blog so you can have a two-way channel of communication with your audience
  • A product or services page with descriptions and information on what you are selling, how much it will cost and why they need it
  • And social media buttons and plugins so that your customers and prospects can easily find and interact with you and share you with others.

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3. Client Relationship Management Tool

A client relationship management tool, or a database management tool, can help you build your email list, make sales and automate things like confirmation emails. I use and recommend Infusionsoft because it has everything I need to attract, market to, close and support my customers.

The best systems will offer:

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  • E-Commerce
  • Database Management
  • Scheduling/Calendar
  • Team Access and Collaboration
  • Email Marketing
  • Automation

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When a customer makes a purchase through an online business, he or she expects instant results, and a CRM can help you meet those expectations. If you aren’t able to automate confirmation emails and email marketing messages, you will lose the confidence of your consumer.

4. Freebie

You need to give your website visitors a good reason to sign up for your ezine or email marketing because they are overwhelmed with emails and spam. You must have something that sets you apart from all the others and makes your client or prospect want to hear from you.

Think about what your audience wants and needs, and then find a way to fulfill that through a freebie that you will give in exchange for signing up to receive email updates.

Don’t groan! Creating a freebie really isn’t hard. In fact, you probably already have one and don’t even realize it! Look at what you have created already for your business or even just what you have still in the works. Common freebies that offer value to a potential customer include ebooks, worksheets, reports and templates so repurpose something you already have to create a freebie that will entice your audience to want more.

Starting an online business with these four elements will help you prepare for success, so you can build a lucrative business and enjoy doing what you love. Are you starting a new online business or thinking of starting one? Tell me about it in the comments. I love hearing about exciting new businesses!

Check out my freebie, 5 Ways to Make Money Using Social Media for some ideas on other ways you might also create freebies for your audience.

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