Four Things You Absolutely Need to Start an Online Business

I remember back when I asked the question, “What’s the business of the business?”…

All around people were creating online businesses, unfortunately, without much success. They kept trying to copy what others were doing but it seemed that some key ingredient was always missing. You see, much like trying to duplicate a cookie, you can’t duplicate success in an online business if you don’t have the complete recipe.

I have spent years researching, analyzing and creating online businesses and I have discovered that there are four things you absolutely need in order to create your online business, or to take your existing business and market it online.  I like to think of them as the foundation – the key building blocks or ingredients in our recipe for success.

Lisa Larter 4 Ingredients for a Successful BusinessFirst, you need the right vessel to add your ingredients to. This is your mindset. You might think that you can start an online business without investing any money and that it is going to be really easy. This is a myth.

Like any business, the online model requires an investment, an investment in yourself, your business and the proper tools to operate. This is the secret to success.

Once you are in the right mindset, it’s time to start mixing that foundation. The four things you absolutely need are:

1. Your Business Model
Many people jump online without any clarity around the type of business they are going to operate and what they need to make it work.  This is a sure way to set yourself up for failure.

In Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat that Frog!”, he talks about the 10/90 rule.  He says that 10% percent of the time you spend planning and organizing will save you as much as 90% of the time in getting it done once you get started.
The same is true when it comes to creating your business model. You must have clarity in order to achieve success.

2. Your Website
You cannot have an online business without having some type of web presence.  This is how people find you and buy from you.

There are many different ways to set up your website depending on your business model.  Here are some things that are important to remember:

  • Your website must be able to translate the message of your business brand.
  • You will want a good bio that tells your story and helps people to understand your character and the values of your business.
  • You will also want to include some of your experience, perhaps client testimonials etc.
  • You need social plug-ins and share buttons.  You will want things like a Facebook Like box for your Facebook page, the Twitter feed for your Twitter account and any other plug-ins that make it easy for people to connect with you and share your content.
  • You need a page where people can buy your products/services or programs.
  • You need a way to capture their email address so you can communicate with them.

3. Your CRM
CRM stands for Client Relationship Manager – it’s a tool that helps you manage your database and stay connected to the people who are interested in what you do.  Without a CRM, your business does not have a chance at being successful.

In today’s fast paced environment the online shopper expects to get access to what they bought, and a confirmation for their purchase right away.  A good CRM does all of this and more.

If you don’t have the ability to automate these things you will lose the confidence of your consumer and have a high return rate.

I use Infusionsoft (click for more info) and I am a partner with them.  That means if you use my link, I make about $100 bucks and you get way more in savings from them because I referred you. I have used their system for years and I love it!

There are other CRMs out there, like Constant Contact, 1 Shopping Cart, AWeber, etc., but Infusionsoft is the one I know, like and trust.

4. Your Freebie
The truth is none of us want more email. We are inundated with email and if I am going to give you permission to email me it needs to be for a good reason.

Unfortunately, we’ve turned something simple like creating a freebie into a hard and involved thing.  It took me a year to create my first freebie!

Now, I work with my one on one clients, we make a list of questions, we do an interview style recording, transcribe the answers and turn them into a quick and easy e-book.

You need to give your audience something for free, and that something has to add value and solve a problem they have.  This is the key to building up your list or your community online.

This is just a basic outline of the foundation you need to get started. There are many more elements, but these will get you started on the right path to Online Business success. It definitely takes work but it’s so worth it!

Owning an online business is a beautiful thing. My online business allows me to work from my home in Ottawa and in Florida, plus it allows me to get things done at my cottage in Nova Scotia.

What would your ideal online business look like?


3 thoughts on “Four Things You Absolutely Need to Start an Online Business”

  1. Once again, Lisa, you break things down and make them very simple and clear.
    Thanks for constantly giving us exactly what we need.

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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