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How to Start an Online Business from Scratch

By Deepak Digwal 2nd November 2020

This year has opened up new doors for us to venture out and explore opportunities to make money. It’s never a bad time to do something new. Whether it’s learning a new skill or set up an online marketplace

Having your own online business comes with many perks. You have control over your finances, you can work from home, work on your passion, set your own working hours, and the best of all – You are your own boss! 

If you too are looking to launch your online business, then you are on the right page! In this blog, we will help you navigate through the process of setting up an online business from scratch! Here’s a sneak peek of the blog:

  1. Identify your niche
  2. Study your market
  3. Create a Minimum Viable Product
  4. Build your e-commerce platform
  5. Curate content that speaks to your audience 
  6. Your business’ presence
  7. Business ideas for you to launch your on-demand marketplace

That’s right! By the end of the blog, you’ll find a list of ideas that you can use to launch an online business! Now, let’s dive into the process.

business from scratch

Identify your niche!

Before you step foot in the market, you need to know what is it that you want to sell. Is it a product or a service? Is it lucrative enough to be taken up? Answers to these questions are the initial steps you have to take before you can launch your online business 

Narrowing down on a profitable niche will determine how well you do in the market. As online entrepreneurs, it’s important to have a well-defined niche for a variety of reasons. 

So, why choose a niche? 

The competition is unforgiving – In a highly digitized world such as ours, there are a plethora of online businesses in existence today. Rather than offering an umbrella of goods, developing expertise in a specific niche will play in your favor.

Selling is easier – When you put your business out serving one kind of thing instead of many, consumers are more likely to listen to you. Instead of going for a business that sells everything, they’re likely to go to someone who sells one thing but does it the best. This brings me to my next point –

You develop a loyal clientele – When you specialize in one solid niche, your customers will know your expertise. When they know about your offerings, instead of going to the competition, they’re likely to become repeat buyers.

Now, how do you choose a niche?

Your business has to do the talking for you. Before you dive into finding a niche, you need answers to some questions. 

  • What domain speaks to you? What are you passionate about?
  • Do you have training for a skill? Do people come to you for advice on a specific topic?
  • What is it that drives you?
business from scratch

The key to finding an ideal niche lies in you. When you have a clear understanding of your interests, you’re likely to convert that into a profitable business idea. Your ideal niche would be a crossroads between your passion and profitability.

Study your market and Business from Scratch

Once you’ve decided on your niche, the next step would be to get the ground-level feel of the market you’re going to leap in. Start by finding what is it that customers want. With ever-evolving consumer behavior, you need to know what is trending. Run searches on Google and Amazon, and look for trending keywords. 

Once you take the pulse of your target market, conduct an extensive competitive analysis. Find out what your competitors are doing in your niche. What is the need that they are fulfilling and how are they doing it? Having an idea of what your competition is doing will help you find your fit and positioning in the market.

Knowing your customers will further assist you in tailoring your offering and content that appeals to your buyer personas.

Create a Minimum Viable Product

Before you go full swing with your business idea, you need to know if it will sustain in the market. Your product has to be something people want to use and pay for.

An MVP is a prototype you create to see your customer segment’s reaction. Getting an initial validation from customers can help you build refine your offering and streamline future product development. How can an MVP help you get your business off the ground?

Save time and resources – You don’t want to invest money in a product that won’t work right? A prototype will save you and help you understand what works and what doesn’t. This way you don’t have to waste your time and can put your efforts into developing a polished product.

Know your target audience – An MVP will give help you understand what your customers desire; the features, models, and specifications that are popular with them. Moreover, it can equip you with a better marketing strategy by the end of it.

business from scratch

Build your marketplace platform

So, now you know what you want to sell and to who you want to sell. What comes next? That’s right – Launching your website. How you present your website is how you leave the first impression on a potential buyer. This is why you must go for an e-commerce platform that represents your brand the best. There are many options for you to choose from. To find an ideal platform to host your business, you will need to factor in various elements. 

  • A competent hosting ecosystem
  • Ergonomic website builder with customizable themes and drag & drop features
  • Seamless integration of customer and merchant-side apps
  • A broad range of in-built integrations like payment gateways and communication platforms
  • In-built marketing and catalogue management tools
  • Round the clock customer support

A good e-commerce platform provides you with an integrated set of tools and features for you to set up and run your business smoothly. An e-commerce platform builder like Jungleworks provides you with an end-to-end tech suite that can help you launch in minutes.

Curate content that speaks to your audience 

Your brand is only as good as the customers it draws. You must create a content copy that appeals to your target audience. You might have a revolutionary product but if you’re not able to convey that to your audience, then there’s no point. Not every copy sells; it needs to be compelling enough for your target customer to click on your CTA and eventually convert. Take a look at advertising tycoon David Ogilvy’s tips for writing a copy that sells:

  • Do your research – Customers are self-aware and know well what you’re talking about. Do your homework before you reach out to them. Empathize with the reader, and get acquainted with their needs.
  • Headlines are pivotal – In his famous words “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” Lead your copy with a strong headline that catches the reader’s attention.
  • Gripping proposition – Your customer wants to know the benefit of buying from you. Your ad copy has to give them a reason to convert for your business.
  • Use Visuals – Colours attract attention. Use illustrative images that sit well with your brand’s tonality and perception. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself – What’s in it for me? Knowing the answer will help you design persuasive and targeted content for them.

Your Business Presence

Creating good content is only half the work done. You also need to be equipped with the right resources to reach out to your customers. Find out where your customers spend most of their time. Having social media handles is a must for any online business in 2020. Set up your business profiles on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter

Your social media presence also depends on your business vertical – your niche. You also need to take care of the physical aspect of your business. If you’re selling a physical product, choose a reliable supplier and take care of the distribution cycle. Having a trustworthy shipping and fulfillment partner also needs attention.

What Ideas are hot in the market?

Gone are the days when starting a business required years of planning and leaps of money as investments. COVID-19 has left digital consumerism at a record high, unlocking business opportunities. Here is a list of ideas to get inspired by!

Build a dropshipping business

A great business model to look into if you don’t want to invest a lot. It’s easy to launch a dropshipping business since you don’t produce goods and you don’t have to worry about shipping either. You act as a link between the customer and the manufacturer. Another great advantage of dropshipping is that you don’t have to keep an inventory.

Start grocery deliveries

With people rarely stepping out of their homes these days, several e-commerce brands had started home delivering groceries shooting up their profit margins this year. You can set up your online grocery store as well. 

You can either build your online grocery store from scratch or use a marketplace builder like Yelo that comes with easy plug-and-play features under one roof for you to get started right away!

Launch local courier

Logistics have suffered a hard hit this year. Because of delays and backlogs, the need and demand for efficient courier services have risen lately. Logistical businesses are picking up pace now making it a great idea to start a local pickup and delivery service.

Set up a consultancy

People are in constant need of advice. Whether it’s for their career or if it’s medical. Do you have expertise in something that people will be willing to pay for? It’s your time to shine! Your customers will pay you for your knowledge and experience that can help them solve their problems. 

Reaching the right people for guidance can sometimes be tough, which makes it important for you to choose a marketplace builder that seamlessly connects all aspects of your consultancy.

Panther, for example, is a marketplace builder that comes with functionalities that can fit well with just about any kind of consultancy business!

Start online classes

Are you great at playing the guitar? Or are you a fitness enthusiast? We are all looking to acquire new skills or refine our existing ones. If you’re skilled and passionate about something, why not spread the knowledge

You can hold zoom classes or take them up on skype. Charge your students on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis. You can coach for just about anything – math, music, dance, and more.

Start rentals

Renting is a much cheaper option to reap the benefits of something you don’t want to buy. This makes a quite popular option with customers who are looking to enjoy something with less investment and commitment. You can set up your rental marketplace for anything you want to rent out. Clothes, equipment, or even your villa! – An online rental platform can let you do it from the comfort of your home.

There are many rental marketplace builders to choose from. Go for an option that gives you an array of features like easy listings management, appointments, and payments. Tiger rental platform can be an ideal option if you’re looking to set up an integrated and powerful marketplace.

Sell your creations

Are you an artist? Do you have an eye for beautiful shades and hues? Turn your talent into money. Set up an online marketplace for your creativity. People have a knack for homemade and personally crafted goods. Here are some ways you can show your talent –

  • Handicrafts and pottery
  • Custom printed bags, mugs, clothes with original designs
  • Artisanal jewelry & fashion accessories

Freelancer marketplace

According to a survey by Upwork, 38% of the American workforce has shifted to freelance jobs amidst the pandemic. And this phenomenon holds for the rest of the world too! As the freelance industry booms, it’s a great time to set up your freelance marketplace. 

Setting up a marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork may seem like it needs tons of resources and a lot of free time, but online marketplace builders like Husky make it easy. Connect talent to the talent searchers in no time!

Curate subscription boxes

It’s always good to indulge in some self-care. This is why subscription boxes have become quite popular in the last few years. They curated themed packages that include various goods. They can be an assortment of beauty/skincare products, food, snacks, and more. 

A steadily growing business, subscription boxes make up for great gifts.

Start an online pharmacy

We don’t think we need to stress how important and relevant pharmacies are in our day-to-day life. The medical industry has sure boomed in the past few months. When is a better time to start your online pharmacy

In conclusion

Starting an online business is no rocket science in 2020. With a variety of e-commerce hosting platforms and tools, you can set up your online venture from the comfort of your home. And who knows, by next year you very well might be running a successful venture!

If you enjoyed reading this, we’re sure you will also love checking out what we have in store on our Youtube channel. You can also head to our home page for more information!

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