This year has changed many things in terms of health, wealth, and day to day lives. As many people have lost their job due to the ongoing crisis, they are looking for alternate ways to earn money. One of the methods is to start a business online. When we are at home most of the time and not going outside much, finding a way to do business from home is the best option right now. All you need is a stable internet connection, a laptop, and that’s it.
Do you know that according to Google Search data, ‘how to start a business’ was searched way over from last year to the first month of lockdown? People have now relied more on an online marketplace, and if you wish to be part of it, then you must do it the right way.
Decide what you want to sell
First, you need to decide what products you should sell. Products can be physical products or professional services or maybe digital goods. But just before deciding about it, you should research what kind of products works better for an online marketplace.
For example, you decide to sell grocery products online then determine what kind of categories you can include in the list. Next, think about how to deliver the products. Think about how well you manage and store the product in a warehouse or inventory. You can also look for alternatives such as a drop shipping route where you don’t need to store the product or own the product. When a customer comes to your website to order a product, you can forward the order to the manufacture or product partner. But you still need to take care of the paperwork for returns, refund, and exchange and order details.
Research and know your market
As stated above, after selecting the product you are going to sell online, you need to start researching the market and competitors. You can do SWOT analysis which includes Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. After doing a good amount of data based on research, you can start with your business plan. You must know that you may be required funding to start your e-commerce business. The next step is to prepare a comprehensive plan.
Do you know how to create a well-thought business plan? It is an essential part of your business that will help you to get funding from your potential investors. It includes the structure of your business, a summary of operations, market analysis, strategy planning, financial analysis and planning and glossary of terms.
It quite understandable that trying to plan finances at the early stage of business is not easy. The lockdown rules have stated it clearly that companies are now forced to adapt to new regulations and change their plans. What you need to do is plan financially, which should include sections like the cash flow forecast, which will consist of details such as payments, loans, and business expenses. If you ever need start-up business loans to kick start your business, then you can borrow money from direct lenders in the UK that can lend money even with bad credit scores.
Next, you need to plan start-up cost breakdown, break-even analysis, profit and loss forecast, and balance sheet.
Setting up business
To set up your business, you need to register business properly. You can register yourself as a sole trader which is a popular option. You can start by registering with HMRC, complete your self-assessment each year with no additional fees.
You can also set up your business as a Limited Liability Company which means that your business is a separate entity from you and your personal assets are secured.
You have two options – set up your website or want to sell products through already set up e-commerce sites such as Amazon. If you have decided to set up your own website, then you can take up the help of professionals who will build the website according to your business needs.
Summing it up
After setting up everything, you need to make sure that you are following your business plan properly. For that, you need to make sure you have all the right equipment, inventory, and other things that are required. Your costs should be logged in the system so that you know that what is going out. After everything is set, you can go online and start selling your business.
You should keep regular track of your business plan and make sure that your targets are met, and everything is documented correctly.
You should also focus on spreading the word out about your business. Use Google tools such as Google MyBusiness to list your business online to let people know about you. You can also use social media for marketing your products by creating public accounts and pages. Social media engagement helps a lot to drive traffic to the business.
COVID-19 has undoubtedly made things worse, but we can still make the best of what is in front of us. Online business has increased enormously when people are no longer going outside for day to day activities. That doesn’t mean that people don’t need things. They do, and e-commerce sites are a massive relief for any requirement.
With proper planning and execution, you can start a successful online business that will help you to get back on your feet.