If you want to become an entrepreneur and pursue a career in business, then you would be well served by starting an online business. This is because an online business usually requires far less up-front investment than a conventional bricks and mortar business, can be started from anywhere in the world, is easy to manage, and can be worked on in your free time if necessary.
As a result, you can make mistakes and take risks that you might not otherwise have tried if you were going straight in with a brick-and-mortar company. You can also be more flexible when it comes to your lifestyle because you can start an online business no matter what job you do, whether you’re still in university or well-established in your current career. What’s more, you don’t necessarily need to have a particular skill to build your business around — at least at first. Rather than a local business that might require you to train in a vocational skill, you can quickly acquire “online” skills from YouTube or specialist online courses, which are cheap and quick to complete.
A further advantage of the online business model is scale. You can quickly scale an online business to huge yearly revenue figures with vast profit margins that would be impossible to achieve with the majority of brick-and-mortar business models.
However, all this isn’t to say that it’s easy to start an online business. Far from it. Breathing life into any enterprise will test your character to its core, force you to work incredibly long hours, stress you out for months on end, take up all your free time, and force you to evolve as a person.
To help you to get started on your journey, here are three things you need to know before starting an online business:
Make sure your infrastructure is scalable from the word go
One of the most vital factors that you need to consider when you’re starting an online business is to make sure that your infrastructure is in place first. While there’s an element of making everything up as you go along when starting an online business, you should still do everything in your power to create a well-organized internal infrastructure. This is because your eventual growth will quickly be stunted by your inefficiencies, slow turnaround times, and general lack of agility.
In the end, this could threaten the continued existence of your company because you’ll be unable to respond quickly to changing market conditions, evolutions in your industry, and unexpected setbacks. For example, you need to make sure that you have your software backend up to scratch straight away to ensure it’s safe from attackers and flexible. This might include incorporating an API gateway. At this point, you may be wondering what is API gateway? Make sure to do some research online, as it is an increasingly vital part of an online business’s infrastructure.
Do it for the right reasons
Another key point to remember if you want to start an online business is to do it for the right reasons. So many people start an online business in the hope of turning a quick buck, filling whatever emotional hole they have in their lives, or validating themselves.
The problem is that business isn’t like the YouTube gurus or the movies would have you believe. It’s tough, gritty, and is always a long slog, no matter what the freak success stories that you read about might suggest.
So don’t go into the venture blind. Understand the risks, the extent of the effort needed, and that you won’t be getting rich overnight.
Do your market research properly before starting an online business
When starting any business, it’s crucial to understand the marketplace you’re about to enter. Arguably, the biggest factor that unites all failed businesses is a lack of awareness about what customers want or a lack of responsiveness when the initial idea isn’t working.
Do your market research and work out if there’s an actual demand for your services first.
Waqar Hussain is the founder of The Business Goals. He writes about entrepreneurial strategies and is an SEO consultant by profession. He is a B.Com, GDM, and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.