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21 Expert Small Online Business Start-Up Tips

Written by Trent Brownrigg  · March 14, 2012

Are you thinking about starting an online business? Here are 21 online business start-up tips to get you started on creating your own online business.

1. Choose the right structure for your business. Deciding whether your business will be structured as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or corporation is one of the most important decisions you will make. The business structure determines how you will pay taxes, so choose carefully.

2. Choose a name for your business that will help customers find you online. A good online business name describes what the business does.

3. Spend time on your business plan. A business plan is a fluid document, so revisit it periodically and make changes as needed.

4. Visit http://www.sba.com/starting-a-business for information on starting and running a business. The Small Business Administration has a lot of information and resources that are helpful to people starting an online business.

5. Define your target market. Once you decide who you want to sell your product or service to, you can focus your advertising on that specific demographic.

6. Realistically calculate your start-up costs. Online businesses naturally cost less to start than brick and mortar stores. However, there are still advertising and website expenses.

7. Order professionally designed business cards. Business cards are important, even for online businesses. They convey professionalism when you give them to people you meet in person.

8. Invest in professional web design. Your home page is the first impression visitors will have of your business.

9. Set up accounts for your business on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Post to these accounts on a regular basis.

10. Set up a blog on your site. A blog is a way for you to interact with customers through your website. Blog posts are personal, between the business and the customer, so they add a human feel to an online business.

11. Choose advertisers wisely. If part of your business plan is to make money from selling advertising on your site, make sure the products that are sold are in line with your business model.

12. Learn SEO. The key to getting new visitors to your online business is being recognized by the search engines.

13. Use a reliable web hosting company. The web host should be able to handle the amount of traffic you want to have on your site, even if you don’t have that much traffic yet.

14. Be patient. Success doesn’t normally happen overnight.

15. Set up a mobile website and an app. Most people access the internet from their smartphones. If you do not have a mobile site, they may never find you.

16. Make your site interesting with videos. Like a blog, videos add personality to your online business.

17. Get involved in your community. Businesses that are active in their community, sponsoring events or donating goods or services, get free advertising.

18. Keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. Invest in good accounting software. This is a general business rule, but it is especially important to remember if you are working from home.

19. Choose the right business for your skills and experience. Many people convert their hobby into a business. However, if you do not have a lot of experience in the field, spend time learning about the market before you open your virtual doors.

20. Know your competition. There are a lot of online businesses and some of them may be courting the same customers as you. Analyze these businesses to find out what they are doing that is and isn’t working.

21. Get a mentor. If you do not know someone who can help you, contact SCORE. A mentor can provide invaluable advice and encouragement.

That should get you in the right mindset to get your business up and running! Good luck!


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