What are the most important things to consider before you venture into a new online business? Is it the technical know-how? Or perhaps it’s the traffic strategies?
In today’s blog, I’ll give you a checklist that you can refer to whenever you want to start a new online business.
1) Is the market easily targetable?
Before you do anything, you need to make sure that the market you are trying to get into is targetable. What I mean is your prospects should belong to a community that you can easily locate. This is important because when your business is launched, you need to know where to look for your customers.
This may seem common sense, but in reality, many netpreneurs believe that their product targets everybody. As a result, they advertise everywhere and have no idea why the traffic doesn’t convert.
2) Is there a problem in the market you’re targeting and does your product address to that problem?
In most cases, a business idea is generated when the founder faces a problem that he fails to find a good solution in the market. If this describes the cause of your business idea, then congratulations, as you’ve found THAT problem.
However, if you have no idea what problem your business is solving, you really have to think of one and sell that idea as a problem. Otherwise, you are going to have a hard time convincing people to buy your product.
3) Is your product unique in the market?
To me, this is the most important point before I take action on any business idea.
If you have studied marketing, you may recall the term USP, which stands for Unique Selling Proposition. A good USP is one that not only provides a solution to the problem in Point 2 but one that is unique.
You don’t have to be Einstein to create a unique product. A product can be unique by simply combining two or more ideas into one, or it can be an idea that exists in some part of the world but not found in your territory or country. Or it can even be a cheaper way of providing the same solution and the low price itself can be the uniqueness.
No one can tell you if one USP is more profitable than another. This is where your vision comes into play.
4) Is there a viral component to your business model?
If you think getting traffic is tough, that’s because there isn’t a viral component to your business model. If all the traffic has to be generated by you personally, it’s just a matter of time before you give up internet marketing.
To truly understand the meaning of viral, look at Facebook. While most people think Facebook is doing the world a favor, by providing a good platform for people to connect, in actual fact, the world is actually doing Facebook a favor, as every Facebook user is a free promoter of Facebook, helping Facebook to expand its user base.
Viral components can include many things, from having an affiliate program to providing viral tools. However, the best form of viral component is a system that can easily convert your users into your affiliates, without them having to intentionally promote your website. This means the more they use your product or service to benefit themselves, the more they promote you!
5) Do you have a traffic retention strategy?
Getting traffic is easy, keeping the traffic is harder, converting the traffic into sales is the hardest. A good traffic retention strategy will help you keep the traffic that comes to your website, so that you not only have more chance to convert the traffic into sales, but also have more people promoting your website, if you’ve done the right thing.
The most common form of traffic retention strategy is getting people to optin by giving away freebies. As I said, this is the most common form but with more and more marketers using such trick, you need to be more innovative than that in order to stand out from the rest.
6) Do you have an automatic sales conversion strategy?
People need to be reminded to buy from you. If you need to do this manually, both you and your prospects will get sick and tired of it. Instead, what you should do is to think of a subtle sales conversion strategy that is always reminding your prospects that there is something better waiting for them.
Imagine a person who needs to get from point A to B everyday. He can either get there on foot or take your taxi. It will be annoying if you were to approach this person everyday. Instead you just have to make sure that he sees you everyday and he knows about your offer. One day, when he sees the value of your service, he will buy.
7) Is the need for your product long-lived?
If you sell something that people will only need to use once, you will have to find a new prospect after every sale. That is tedious.
On the other hand, if your product can service a person for live, like an insurance policy, you are going to have recurring income from every sale you make.
Another way of looking at ‘long-lived’ is are you selling a fad? A fad is something that suddenly bursts into a full buying frenzy and then, just as quickly, fizzle out. If you are selling a fad, you may be making some quick money but such income is not lasting. Soon you will be back to square one and you have to start all over again.
8) Is the operation of your business self-running?
How much time will it take for you to keep that business running? If the running of your business requires a lot involvement from you, it means this business is going to keep you so busy that you may have no time to expand the business or explore other business and investment opportunities.
As a basic principle, you should spend most of your time growing your business or establishing other businesses, not running the business.
Of course, no business is 100% self-running. If most processes can be automated or can easily be outsourced, that business is worth exploring.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by running a business. Say if you run a membership site that provides new video tutorials every month, you will have to spend time preparing the videos. You can outsource, provided that the outsource personnel can do an equally good job, and the business is profitable enough for you to engage that person.
However, there is an interesting twist. If you are indeed in such a situation, you can turn the ‘maintenance work’ into a growth opportunity. For example, you can turn your videos into a MRR (Master Resale Right) product and allow your customers to sell or bundle it with other products. This way, the same videos suddenly become a viral tool that will bring you more traffic. You can also produce videos based on interviews with other marketing gurus. This way, you are growing your affiliate network while at the same time delivering good values to your customers.
9) Is your business building an asset?
Most people do business to make money. But that’s not enough. In addition to making money, you have to make sure that your business is building an asset other than money. An asset can be a collection of websites, which the guru call virtual property, or it can be a network, which can be in the form of a subscriber list or a network of affiliates, or you may be building an infrastructure that you can use for your future businesses.
Looking beyond money and focusing on building assets is the way to ensuring that your online venture is a lasting one. Whether your current business is going to survive tomorrow or not, you know that you are sure to win because the asset that has been built is going to benefit you no matter what.