Everyone seems to be jumping into the online business bandwagon. Little capital, unlimited market, and flexible working hours with the promising return, it seems so attractive!
However, before starting one without regrets, here are three important things to consider. The more honest you are with the answer, the better equipped you are for a successful online business.
Do you have a good business idea?
A good business idea is the first step to a successful online business. What kind of products would fly? Find out what is popular and trending on established e-commerce websites such as Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, JD.com, Shopify and Flipkart. This should give you a good idea on what kinds of product you want to sell.
When you have determined your product, research on competing products on these e-commerce websites on various angles such as their target customers, key features or benefits, price points, shipping terms and social media engagements. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can adopt elements of interest for your product especially their voice branding and social media strategy.
Pay attention especially to their negative reviews for business ideas! If you can solve a problem with your product, then what you sell is no longer a want or nice-to-have but a need, a must-have. This also automatically becomes your product’s unique selling point, giving an edge over your competitors.
Do you have a demand for your product?
Before investing in sourcing out or manufacturing your product, test the demand first. You can do a quick run of how popular your product is using free tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword.
You can also test by introducing it first in niche forums or online communities. Strike a conversation or start a discussion group with freebies for potential customers’ feedback. So, if you are selling a waterproof speaker, join a Facebook community of outdoor enthusiasts. Ask what would make them buy your product at a price? Find out what is considered value-adding for them. Give a freebie out for valuable market information.
Another way is to launch your product on crowdfunding websites first such as Kickstarter, RocketHub, CircleUp, Patreon, Republic and iFundWomen. If people would root for your product even before selling it on e-commerce websites, you have gained yourself a tribe of early adopters who will be your faithful brand ambassadors.
Do you have the time to start an online business?
Online business seems like a sexy endeavour, but it takes more than a leisure engagement to succeed. We need to ask ourselves honestly and realistically, “How much time do I want to allocate for my online business?” How much we are willing to give shows how serious we are.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk works 14 to 18 hours a day to mainly juggle between these two jobs. That is about 6 to 10 hours above the normal 8-hour work. If two hours is all we can give per day followed by one weekday, then that is what we need to be disciplined to stick to and carve out time for it. That means sacrificing our Game of Thrones times and long showers. There is a cost of being a business owner and are you ready to pay the price? If you are, then the road is endless.