How to Start Your Online Business in Australia: From the Ground Up
Want to start an online business but unsure where to look first? In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn the steps required to become an online business owner.
Consumers love the internet. It’s even been predicted that by 2040, 95% of purchases will be through e-commerce. In 2020, COVID pushed more shopping online than ever before, in a record year for online sales. Establishing your small business online is the smart and obvious choice here, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. Here’s a step-by-step process to support your online startup.
Table of Contents
1. Find your niche
Before you start, ask yourself: “What makes my business stand out from all the rest?” The best-case scenario is that you discover an untapped market, though that isn’t always feasible. Instead, most aspiring business owners aim to find the sweet spot: a niche that isn’t crammed — but with enough competition to show a demand for this particular product.
Once you have a firm idea, look into other successful businesses in your area. See what they do to rake in customers. Think about your product. Then, choose the market you’d like to focus on by:
Use your research to see which pressing issues affect your target audience the most.
2. Set up your website — aka your storefront
Once you purchase your domain name, it’s time to design your website. This is how you’ll make an excellent first impression on your customers.
To start with, avoid slabs of text and use dot points. Paragraph upon paragraph will only make customers click away out of sheer boredom.
You should also keep your website consistent and straightforward in every regard, from fonts to graphics to the colours used. If you don’t, it will undermine your professionalism. And if your website is cluttered, potential customers will assume that it’s hard to navigate and abandon ship. In that sense, design and functionality are intertwined. Accessible UX design will keep potential customers coming back.
A significant part of the user experience relies on auditing your website. This consists of reviewing your website for any technical problems, broken links and structural issues. You could use a program; however, considering the quality varies from application to application, you might want to hire a professional to look over your website instead.
If you know anything about advertising online, chances are, you have heard of the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and keywords. Both relate to taking advantage of algorithms and weaving the right words into your website, words that a potential customer will type into a search engine.
This will then increase the visibility of your website in searches. Keyword tools like Clearscope will help you discover which are most relevant to your business.
Along with SEO, there’s also pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This is an easy way to garner traffic, as it will have your website show up at the very top of search pages.
And, of course, social media accounts, which are practically essential for modern business. Consider which social media platforms your potential consumers frequent, and keep them active with photos, blog posts and videos, depending on the product you’re selling.
Many small business owners have found TikTok an amazingly effective marketing tool, allowing them to connect with new audiences and markets.
4. Develop business skills
It’s one thing to read up on these steps, but to develop these abilities and to put them into practice can get tricky. A business course will equip you with all the know-how you need to conduct a professional business and provide excellent customer service.
For example, a Diploma of Business can teach you how to follow market trends and manage finances. This is particularly useful if you’re thinking of expanding your business later down the track.
There is a broad range of business courses out there, so you can pick one tailored to whatever you need. From management bookkeeping to marketing — all online and flexible to fit in with your schedule.
The internet remains a very accessible platform for the eager entrepreneur. But perhaps you just need a bit more guidance from people with experience.