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If you were to tell someone 10 years ago that you were starting an online business, they would have called you crazy. These days, it’s common for most startups to be only online. Some do it so well, in fact, that they have no plans on ever opening a physical store. If that’s something that you’re interested in for your future company, these key factors to know before starting an online-only business will be critical for you to look at.
If you’re reading this, you probably already have an idea of what you want to sell and who you’re planning on selling it to. However, have you considered if that product and those people will mesh well with your online business? For example, if you believe that your product will be best suited to an older demographic, you’ll have a tough time convincing them that figuring out how to purchase things online is worth it.
Of course, that’s an obvious example. However, your unique situation might have a less obvious problem, so you’ll need to do some market research in your industry and target markets to determine if this is even a good idea in the first place.
Once you have that all figured out, you need to determine the legalities of your business. The last thing you need is to make costly assumptions that kill your business before you even begin. Look into what kind of licenses and permits your state requires for online business, especially if you plan on hiring any employees down the line. Nothing is worse than slamming on the brakes due to legal issues.
The most obvious choice here is to create a website for people to shop at, but it might be better to bring your business to them, depending on your product and target market. It’s not uncommon for small companies to use sites like Amazon or eBay to sell their products. It saves you the trouble of making your own storefront and gives you a built-in group of potential customers.
While all these key factors to know before starting an online-only business are important, probably one of the most vital is finding ways to communicate with your consumer base. Whether it’s for bringing in new customers or convincing old ones to come back, being only online limits you because you never talk face-to-face with anyone.
Some of your best options are to create things such as email newsletters and retargeting text messages. These are two options you have out of many that will allow you to communicate effectively with those interested in your product. Plus, you can use programs like Google Analytics to track your email campaigns and see how well they’re performing. You have so many options when it comes to this sort of thing.
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