If you’re ready to start up your own business, you could no doubt do with some expert advice as to where to begin and how to progress. Whether you’re considering setting up an online business, an at-home business or a low cost business, we have valuable advice for you.

Setting Up An Online Business

online-business imageStarting up your own eCommerce business allows you to retail services or goods via a retail marketplace such as eBay or Etsy or, alternatively, through a website of your own. One of the benefits of an online eCommerce business is that there is often plenty of flexibility as well as a lower entry threshold. You can conduct your business remotely or even part-time depending on the business model you’ve selected.

The online retail market is growing year on year, and if you’ve already carried out research to demonstrate that there’s a valid customer base for your service or product, you stand a good chance of success.

If you’re creating your own retail website there are just three principles to follow.

  1. Have clear inventory images
  2. Describe your inventory clearly
  3. Make it easy to pay for products

You can even set up your own business website if you want to save on costs. There are now many WordPress tools and eCommerce plug-ins which can be used by anyone, whether or not they have a web development or coding background. SquareSpace and Shopify are just two one-stop shops which enable you to quickly and easily choose your storefront design template before uploading photographs and adding description. There are payment funnels built in and for one monthly fee your store can be conveniently hosted.

If your online business is moving in different direction to retail e.g. tutoring you will need a different type of site. Services need a lot more explanation than inventory-driven businesses so you need to make your brand and products very clear.

Some things to consider before you launch your eCommerce enterprise include:

  • What customers’ needs are you fulfilling?
  • What is your target audience and where can they be found online?
  • Are your products or services immediately clear?
  • Are your customers going to be overwhelmed by how many products are showcased on your site?
  • How will your customers pay for their purchases?
  • How can you improve the simplify the customer experience?
  • How will you serve your customers?
  • Are you using a secure and scalable eCommerce platform?

Tailoring your business to the needs of your target audience is the ultimate way in which to succeed in the online marketplace.

Your Home Business Online Guide

online-guide imageAre you considering setting up your own at-home business? If you’re excited by the possibility of running your company from your own front room, whether part time or full time, you need to know how to get started.

Do you have a product to sell? eBay or Amazon marketplaces could be a good starting point. However another good direction in which to take your home business is to focus on your existing passions and skills. Are you creative? A craft company, your own clothing line, or even a baking company could be the right choice for you. Maybe you have knowledge and other applicable skills? Tutoring or freelance copywriting could be for you. Or maybe you already have a string of impressive contacts and could start up your own event planning business?

One further option is to open your home to other people. Why not become a childminder, a consultant or an Airbnb host? Pet sitting is a valuable service which many people look for in their local areas and advertising in your local newspaper or by delivering flyers could be the perfect starting point for your company.

Low Cost Business Guide

Are you keen to launch your own business but don’t have a lot of start up capital? There’s no need to worry as there are many different ways you can set up your own company without a lot of cash at your disposal.

Online operations are a great way to set up since there’s no need to pay for any overheads for a physical store or office. You can register your own domain name for a nominal fee and then achieve better visibility within your target market by using strong SEO. Social media is the key to building up a loyal customer base and with the right skills and tools you can create your online company with minimal outlay.

Over 50% of all consumers search online for information before they go shopping, so you need a strong online presence for your low cost business. Today’s 24/7 culture means that customers want to find information at any time of the day or night and want to buy at a time and place to suit them. Having an online presence lets your customers know everything about you at a time that fits around their lifestyle. Meanwhile, an online platform also gives you greater potential to interact with your customers either through a blog or via social media.

Here are some top tips to help you to get your low cost business up and running:

  • Get a website
  • Secure the right domain name for you
  • Optimise your site for SEO so you can get to the top of the search engine ranking
  • Engage with your customer base via social media. This will drive traffic to your site, give you valuable customer insight, let you share content and get customer feedback to boost brand loyalty
  • Consider paid promotion using advertising like banner adverts or Facebook ads

What About A Franchise?

franchise imageOne ready-made option if you want to start your own business is to take over a franchise. Here you will get a ready made logo, name and business process to simplify matters. The cost of setting up as a franchisee will vary considerably and while some are affordable options others are extremely costly when you take into account the initial fee, then fees for training, marketing, bricks and mortar premises and any royalty payments.

The benefit of owning a franchise is that you can benefit from the proven track record of the business. You are reducing your risk and taking advantage of an organised and in-built system with plenty of assistance and advice when it comes to operations and marketing. You’ll often benefit from better prices too. However, a franchise won’t suit everyone. There are rules and systems which must be adhered to and if you’d rather have lots of flexibility and independence a franchise won’t work for you since your services, products and business operations are all going to be dictated by the corporate organisation.

What About An Existing Organisation?

If you think that you might be able to start up a business more conveniently by buying an already existing company, you could be onto a winner or a loser depending on the circumstances. The benefits include historical data, existing employees, ongoing customers, an existing inventory and equipment ready to operate the company. Obtaining finance will also often be simpler and there is a lower chance of failure. However, it’s important to recognise that if you buy an existing business you’ll probably spend more than if you started one up from scratch.

Some elements of the deal, for example the policies, working methods and inventory, may not be working. There may also be liens or legal liabilities to keep in mind. It’s therefore important to seek professional advice and to choose a business within an industry where you have experience and understanding.

All business ventures come with their own risks, however you can reduce those risks by taking the time to research what to expect and to make an informed decision.