Starting an online business may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. There are a couple of things to check in terms of your proposed business, and then establishing an online presence.
Start with an idea for a business. The idea should fill a need for a group of people who currently have a need and have the ability to pay for the solution. Each point should be checked off here:
- group of people currently have a need
- group of people willing to pay
- access to raw goods
To go along, we are going to create an online business that sells tea. This product fulfills both of our requirements, in that it is consumable and there's a need by those who consume it, and they are willing to pay for it.
In thinking of access to raw goods, I'd start with looking on Amazon to see if it can be ordered. Alternatively a local store, or other local access to raw goods can be used.
Pricing is key, because you must be profitable in order for the business to succeed. Your product should be priced such that it's at least three or four times the cost of making the product.
(Raw product goods + packaging) x 4 = Product price
For the tea idea, I'm planning to invest $4 in raw goods and packaging, and price the product at $20. With this decided, naming is next.
Name Your Business
Your business name is your brand. It should be short and to the point, or descriptive, or creative and pertaining to the specialty of the business. It may be helpful to come up with a couple possible names.
Check for Existing Website & Social Media
Next open your favorite search engine, ie Google, and search for your business name. If it's already taken, try another name or variation of the name. Alternatively, try spelling the name creatively. This could mean substituting letters or being creative in spelling. When you've found a name that is not being used, search for the name on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For Facebook, search for your business name, and likewise on Instagram. On Instagram, also look up a unique handle or name that would also work as a website name. If you haven't yet, think of a website name. Try typing the website into your web browser. If the website does not open to an existing webpage, save this in a notepad.
Lastly, use this handle as your business email address. Gmail has been a good go-to for creating a new email account, but by all means use whichever one is most convenient and cost effective.
Now is a good time to and review.
At this point, you should have:
- Business name
- Facebook page
- Instagram account handle
- Twitter handle
- Business website domain
- Email address
For my tea company, I've decided on Crazy Yummy Tea as the business name. A Facebook search returns no results, and i've decided to use Twitter and Instagram handles with the name @crazyyummytea and a website domain of www.crazyyummytea.com
- Crazy Yummy Tea
- Crazy Yummy Tea Facebook Page
It is important to have consistent branding across social media. This helps the company name to be found across different social media platforms, and establish the business overall.
With all of these set, each account can be created to establish the business online. Each of these can be done without spending any money, except for creating a website domain.
Creating a website domain can be done at any website domain registrar. GoDaddy, Squarespace, Wix, are a few known websites to create a website domain. I'll add a few more as well. Each has its own pricing, but on average it'll be around $10/year.
You don't need to have an actual website when you buy a website domain. The domain can be pointed to a facebook page, instagram page, or any other page. It helps to have a website domain in establishing a business that will be remembered by customers.
With an online business presence established, the business exists! In the next article of this series, we will start building a social media and online presence.