Steps to Build an Online Business

Technology August 24, 2020
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If you think you could be an emerging internet or web entrepreneur but don’t know where to start, well, you have landed on the right page on the internet. Let's discuss the eight essential steps that you need to take to grow and expand a mobile business. 

The process beings with the seed of an idea – whatever it is that you think you can change about the market, then come research and UX development. When you build your business online, you have to be very aware of your competition and the ongoing trends in the market. If you don't know what has been done, every popping idea seems like a multi-million dollar one, that's why it's very important to keep yourself updated and informed.

Next, the process of actually building your product – the platform where you connect with your users in real-time. Then you go on to devise the lifetime customer value and the cost of acquiring a customer – both of which mathematically help you determine your success.

After this step, you practically just put yourself out there as much as possible and invest in acquiring new customers and maintaining the already existing customer base. The eighth and final step is branching out and building your brand online through different ventures.

While all ideas and businesses need their own unique process of growth, this is a structured and schematic set of rules that you can follow to be able to understand where you stand and where you need to go. Let’s look at all of these steps in detail.

Idea

It has been seen that the first step, as straightforward as it looks, gets overlooked by most entrepreneurs. Before trying to build your business online, it’s important to have a firm and clear understanding of what you want to do – what your product would do. One way to find out a problem that hasn’t been solved yet is to go on online forums and ask people about common problems they’re facing. 

The question that you need to ask yourself when deciding on the idea is “what problem do you want to solve?” Be as specific as you can be. Figure out a niche in a way that you can leverage most of your strengths to build your own business online.

Research 

The stronger research backing you have when you build an online business, the more fool-proof your idea becomes. The first thing you need to establish is how much traction your market is getting, and in that particular market, how much traction would your product or service get. Establish how much people are willing to pay for the kind of product you’re offering. It’s advisable to do a thorough competitive analysis and make yourself aware of all the ongoing and emerging trends. 

You can evaluate trends by simple keyword research or browsing through customer reviews of competition. You need to find out what's been done, what hasn't been done, and what's been done but isn’t affordable/accessible to more people. By that, it becomes a lot easier to decide what your product needs to do to have a massive reach.

Devise the User Experience 

Building your brand online is a lot different from setting up a traditional business, and this is where most of the challenge lies. It is very important to keep the end-user engaged and entertained throughout their time with you, and for that, you need to have a flawless user experience devised. 

You need to create a clickstream that not just optimizes your service but also simplifies the process for the consumer as much as possible. Keep in mind that your UX should be innovative, but also very easy to familiarize with. It always makes things easier when you keep yourself in the shoes of the user and trace your steps backward as to what you would want and where you would want it. 

Build

Finally – the one step where you need to concentrate the effort of all the previous steps and put it into actually building a successful online business. You first need to decide if you need an app or a website or both. It's usually advisable, to begin with, one and then grow later. You can also look into web apps if you want a cheap option that doesn’t depend a lot on phone features like camera and fingerprint scanners.

If you’re making an app – you have to decide between iOS and Android-based on geography and target demographic. Then there are things like payment methods, security, account management, and administration – all of which are taken care of by the IT desk.

Be careful when you pick your developer. Do your homework when deciding between external agencies. Discuss with your top five choices and see who you are most compatible with. If you think you’re going to be creating more online ventures, then it’s better to hire an in-house team.

Optimize LTV

To create your own online business and mathematically make sure that it becomes a success, you need to calculate and then optimize the LTV (Lifetime Customer Value). It is basically the total worth of any customer to your business throughout your relationship.

It always costs less to maintain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, so increasing the value of your existing customers is a great way to drive growth, and that’s exactly what optimizing LTV means. 

Devise CAC 

Having a well-planned CAC or Cost to Acquire a Customer will certainly help you in the initial days of creating a successful online business. When you know your sales and marketing like the back of your hand, that's when you can really make a way for profit. A good business model always has its CAC sufficiently lower than its LTV. 

It’s very easy to calculate – all you need to do is divide the total cost of acquiring customers (sum of total sales and marketing expenses) over a given period of time by the total number of customers acquired over that period of time.

Invest in acquiring customers

This mostly has to do with creating an online presence. You can pick ways that are relevant to your product and target demographic, but some of the most common tools include content marketing, SEO-rich website, focussing on social media, making yourself known in online forums, giveaways, influencer marketing, referrals, and emergency deals.

Once acquired, focus on how to make a customer stay with you for a long time – the two holy grails to follow here are convenience and personalization.

Repurpose your technology to either enter another vertical or become a SaaS business

Now that you have built your own online business and have established a consumer base, you can further lookout to branch into another vertical. You could form a smaller company with your original brand as the parent or you could offer a new service or product from the same umbrella depending on demand. You could also become a SaaS business (Software as a Service) which means you offer remotely offer software on your website that anyone could access.

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