How To Start An Online Business

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Recently I’m getting more friends and relatives asking me how to start an online business. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not easy maths too.

Starting an online business is pretty much the same as starting a brick and mortar business, except that the cost is much lower and so is the risk.

When I say it’s pretty much the same as a brick and mortar business, I also mean that you need to be entrepreneurial, to be able to ‘smell’ the needs in a market and to have a vision. Are entrepreneurs born or breed? I don’t know. What I believe is, if you think you are, you are.

So, if you are entrepreneurial and want to learn how to start an online business, read on……

Step 1: Never reinvent the wheel

Believe me. Almost all the smart and innovative ideas you can think of are already done by someone else online, in one way or another. If you think you’ve a unique online business idea, it just means that you’ve not done enough research.

So, if you have any online business idea, the first thing you need to do is head over to Google and type in some keywords related to your business idea. Thoroughly check out all the top websites that provide similar product or service. This means you may have to try out their products/services and find out their pros and cons.

Next, you have to evaluate those pros and cons and come out with a BETTER idea.

Remember, the job of an entrepreneur is not to invent things. His job is to seek proven business ideas, improve on those ideas and get a piece of the pie out of the market, preferably a bigger piece.

Step 2: Think of the marketing system

Most newbie entrepreneurs have one problem. They spend too much time trying to perfect their products.

Having a good product is important. But what’s more important is the marketing system.

Without a good marketing system, no matter how good your product is, it’s going to be hard for your online business to grow.

Regardless of what you sell, your marketing system should answer 3 important questions:

– How can the system attract and capture a list of potential users and/or customers?
– How can you make the system viral, such that users will refer more users?
– How to convert prospects into customers?

For example, recently I developed a great online tool (I think) that can help me to manage all my stocks (I’m talking about the stock market). I believe if I roll this service out to the market, someone will be willing to pay for it. But before I even think of developing the tool for the multiple users, I first have to think of the 3 questions above.

Here’s my thinking process:

I probably have to develop an online system where stock traders can subscribe for free and manage limited number of stocks. This will answer question #1. If they find the service useful and want to manage more stocks, they will upgrade their account for a monthly fee. That will answer question #3. The tough part is question #2 – how to make it viral. I’m thinking of developing a system where users can allow the public to view their portfolios or their watch list and sign up followers to their watch list. It’s something like the Twitter effect. This will make the website viral.

That’s how I apply my theory in practice.

Step 3: Work

Once the idea is formed and the marketing system is well thought out, the last step to start an online business is to work.

This is the overwhelming part because there are so many things to be done, yet you can only move one step at a time.

First you have to build the website. You can buy a ready script if it’s available, use the free MYOB script that I’ve developed for our members or get a freelancer to develop the website for you, either from scratch or by modifying existing scripts.

When the website is ready, you have to promote it and keep promoting it. And that’s only the beginning……

That’s how to start an online business. After it’s started, to maintain it is another challenge. But if you start off on the right foot, things will be a lot simpler in the future.

By the way, I recently came across a good article on getting clients for your business. It’s worth reading. You may get a few ideas for your business.

Share your thoughts

  1. Tim

    I will be willing to try it out. But the question that I get from everyone is, “Does it work for anyone who tries an online business?” even if you’ve tried your best, done all the steps correctly?

    Reply
    1. Kenneth Koh Post author

      I believe no one can give a definite answer. I’m sharing with you what has been working for me and many other marketers.
      Besides having the right approach, having the right mindset is equally important and that is the hardest thing to teach as well as to change.

      Reply
    2. Niranjan Ranade

      The word TRY is a problem. It’s an excuse. “Just do it” / “YES attitude” is a must for success. Problems are inevitable most of the times. I feel that the logic is something like Desire -> Dream -> Knowledge -> Vision -> Focus -> Value Addition -> Leverage -> Compounding(growth). Risk-management continues to be the most important aspect at every step. This doesn’t mean Risks should not be taken. It means manageable Risks should be taken considering “Risk/Reward” ratio (common-sense). Traffic -> Signups -> Sales. Traffic can be achieved writing articles, press-releases, viral giveaway e-books, PPC, Social networking etc to Build an optin list (signups). This list is the offered valuable FREE stuff to presell customers. Relationship once built leads to recurring sales (paid offers) :)

      Reply
  2. Wid

    Hi Kenneth,

    First I started online business is creating website, getting link from other site and then submit to http://budurl.com/xzus. I got first dollar from this site, It’s explained to me that I can get more dollar if I work harder.

    Thanks Kenneth for your free valued script.

    Reply
  3. nash

    oh yes..online business really difficult. Mis very important in online home based business. But the question is…is google adwords help you? i have advertised in google adwords…my balance keep running low even there are no click at all.

    Reply
  4. Niranjan Ranade

    Income seekers are often tyre-kickers/freebie seekers who dream to make money online filling surveys, clicking in emails or visiting websites, investing in HYIPs/ponzis etc. Business Opportunity seekers hop from program to program almost every few months often loosing time and money. A very few folks commit to their dreams and apply FOCUS with a defined Plan to succeed. Value addition. High Profit Selling are the keys to riches. We need to always remember that the money which we want is in others Pocket. To transfer it from their pocket to ours DOES require value exchange. We need to give something. We can give a lot IF we have our own Business (product/service) Online using the power of Internet. Having our own affiliate program gives us the Leverage to grow Business with less efforts. MYOB script is a valuable gift available to Leadsleap members. I hope more Income seekers embrace Entrepreneurial Spirit to enjoy Time freedom and ofcourse a lot of Money :)

    Reply
  5. Ken

    The recession has put a big dent in my earnings from sites selling recreational items, people have to cut back somewhere. On the flip side my site selling test gear, http://testgearstore.com remains steady and even growing. I’m guessing this is because people are getting ready to help spend some of the Obama stimulus money dedicated to building the rural wideband network.

    Reply
  6. Ami

    The method I use is marketing other people’s products online i.e affiliate marketing. But what you say still applies. Get the right mingset, do what has been proven to work already and work hard at it.

    Reply
    1. steve mirabile

      Are there any affiliate programs that offer the affiliate residual income from the customers they send them instead of only a commission for one time sale. (Not including mlm type junk.)

      Reply
      1. Lynne Gordon

        Steve, there are many such affiliate programs. They are called recurring commissions and all of the major companies like Clickbank, Paydotcom…etc, offer them. Plus there are a lot of other single corporate entities that offer you recurring commissions on their membership programs, which means you get money in your account every time someone pays their subscription fee.

        Reply
        1. steve mirabile

          recurring commissions. Seems like a better way to go. thanks..
          I like to promote leads leap too. It’s one of the few programs with substance in the net marketing biz.

          when I send out ads promoting leads leap I Sometimes wonder why anyone would would not sign up to leads leap.
          Whats wrong with them??

          Reply
      2. Lynne Gordon

        Funny you should say that, Steve. I recently emailed those exact same words to Ken.

        I gave it some thought after that and I realized that I was advertising LeadsLeap as a list-building opportunity to people who were more interested in money-making opportunities.

        Or I was promoting LeadsLeap as a PPC advertising opportunity to people who are more interested in freebies.

        I have learned to first answer the BIG QUESTION of WIIFM and I am then able to show LeadsLeap as the answer to that need or desire. It has helped in my advertising of LeadsLeap.

        SolarGoddess

        Reply
  7. Jason Lamure

    Thank for another informative and interesting post Kenneth.

    I really enjoyed the included link to the SEO guy looking
    to make $8000 for his new diggs.

    He has given anyone with a bit of gumption an easy way to make
    some nice money for a bit of effort, and even cooler…he gives you a ways to profit from the efforts of others (AND NOT MLM “Get Rich Quick” hype stuff either!)

    These blog posts are a big part of what makes being a leadsleap member so great.

    Cheers and have a super weekend!

    Jason

    Reply
  8. Roger Langford

    While I agree that it is very important to build a website. Your first website should be a non-profit site where you learn the skills required to run the site and get traffic. Once you know some basic web stuff like FTP, HTML, CSS, SSI, etc. and how to get traffic then build another website for profit. The lessons you learn building the non-profit site will be of great benefit when you get to build your business website. My non-profit site is http://www.healthforyou.org and I made many changes to it before I considered it fit for purpose. Make your mistakes on a practice site not your money earning site.

    Reply
  9. Malaysian Economist

    To me, online business is an art and science. The main argument is buyer and seller does not meet face to face, and do not know each other. It is totally up to individual buyer and seller to decide. As Kenneth said, as a seller our duty is to transfer your confidence to buyer before he buys your product! So, the question to us as sellers: are we smart enough to exercise our duty (transfer of confidence)???

    Reply
    1. Your Business Tips

      “Transfer Of Confidence” is definitely the target in marketing online. It takes a lot of practice and self control. We tend to hope/believe that our first email or advert will sell, it could, but that would really be luck. We must learn to build up a relationship with our prospect. We must sell “Confidence” not our product or service, this will come naturally with time.

      John

      Reply
  10. Lynne Gordon

    I started out in affiliate sales and have since produced my own product am I am busy learning the ropes and making some sales.

    I chose to pursue my passion when I decided on a product to create and I found a gaping hole in the current similar products being offered and filled it.

    I think that because I initially started my business offline, I was able to raise needed capital which makes a big difference when you are first starting on a new project. I would suggest that to anyone who is able to do it.

    It will also give you some self-motivating face-time with your customers. You will hear their questions and concerns first-hand and can then address them on your website.

    Another thing that I did with my offline sales was to get some idea of their surfing and online habits, (ala GOOGLE). I simply asked what sites they visited most often, then I targeted those sites with some of my first advertising.

    I hope I have been of some help.

    SolarGoddess

    Reply
  11. Laurie Lacey - Natural Healing Talk Newsletter

    Hi,

    I must say that I’m impressed by the information
    on this blog and by LeadsLeap, generally. I’ve
    been a basic member for quite a while, but haven’t
    done anything with it.

    Anyhow, I’m beginning to think that I should take
    a second look at the system. I publish a natural
    healing newsletter, and have to figure out how
    leadsleap can best benefit me.

    Regards,
    Laurie

    Reply
  12. Barbara Chapman

    And don’t forget don’t be afraid of the fact that there is competition – this indicates a demand for your product. But as you say, you want to make your offering better than the competition’s!

    Reply
  13. Jeff

    It’s actually a cool and useful piece of information.
    I am happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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