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Seven stages of starting an Online business-Stage 1

In this episode we will discuss the first of seven phases of starting an online business.

I will take you through the six other phases of starting an online business and discuss each phase via the next six episodes of my podcast. Full disclosure though…. I haven’t recorded six of the seven episodes but will do my best to complete them at the earliest possible time.

Before we attempt to discuss this topic let’s just evaluate the phases or thoughts/emotions of a typical entrepreneur. As you can imagine It does take a lot of grit and a can’t give up attitude to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Does that mean you need to take crazy risks and bet on your house and farm? Definitely not.

So here are the seven phases of starting an online business. Drum roll please….

Stage 1

I want to start an online business phase

Stage 2

Can I do it phase

Stage 3

What if I fail phase

Stage 4

What if I suck at this phase

Stage 5

Oh god it’s not working phase

Stage 6

Yeah I got it phase

Stage 7

Finally….. DAMN I am good at this phase

As you can imagine going through each of these phases is quite an interesting experience in itself. Constant introspection, measuring what you do on a daily basis, executing towards KPIs, forging relationships, A/B testing every aspect of your process are all very important during this phase.

Let’s dig deep into what the typical phase 1 looks like.

Phase 1

I want to start an online business

Talk is cheap...Business Ventures are not for the faint of heart. So if you are interested and want to make it happen don’t take the easy way out. Grind it out my friends!

Where do you start?

You start by soul searching. Why start this journey? What’s motivating you to do this now? Is it to put money away for your kids' college? Money for that dream vacation, add to your retirement, or replace your full time income?

Is there a reason why you are willing to take a leap of faith now? Are you chasing a wild dream that you think can only be accomplished by starting a business? What’s your personal life situation..i.e are you single, married, have kids etc.

Also, think of a few tangible things that you are not able to accomplish in your current career.. Try and figure out if the online business venture you are attempting to start will fill any of those gaps..

Also be realistic and pragmatic. Most businesses are not overnight successes. It takes considerable effort and perseverance. So take baby steps, pat yourself on the back for achieving those small wins and keep building momentum.

How do you come up with an online business idea?

Ideate-How do you come up with ideas?

Do your research, talk to friends, talk your colleagues at work and take them into confidence if you have a rapport, find a mentor and of course discuss your plans with your family.

Ideas are all around you and if the pandemic taught us anything it’s about how important an online business is.

Of all the research and time one can spend in ideating and thinking through self confidence is by far the single most factor that will get you through this journey. So believe in yourself and push hard.

I will not waste your time on this podcast by telling you to start another dropshipping or Print on Demand store. Although folks have found success in those ventures it's a highly crowded marketplace and odds of success are limited for the most part.

This podcast is not about preaching to open up an online business and wait for traction to build. It sounds quite rosy and enticing but achieving that dream of sipping pina coladas on a remote island and cashing your online earnings is at best a dream.

We are all about helping you build real businesses with an online edge using all the available tools within the Digital Marketing Spectrum.

The idea and premise behind this podcast will always be to nudge you to think differently but pursue the top industry trends for success. What we have also learnt as Digital marketing practitioners is to counsel and guide our prospects and clients to stay very focused and not chase every rabbit hole.

You see, starting a website may be relatively easy but growing the site with real customers is a challenge. Unfortunately what we see on a weekly basis is folks being led to believe that you can win big by just starting an online store or a website.

I am sorry to break it to you, it's not how it works. We see trends where the hybrid model of online/offline is more sustainable and scalable in the long run. The advantage you have venturing via an online first strategy is you get to keep your costs relatively low, and be able to test waters and find the right set of audience to cater to.

Depending on the service or product you want to build, a good hack would be to try building a landing page instead of a complete website and run paid ads to see the response and gauge your audience interest.

Pay attention to fundamentals of marketing before you magically expect your online store to take off. Go research the principles of AIDA which stand for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. You want to constantly think of categorizing your audience within this funnel to eventually convert them as paid customers.

For example let’s say If you have a website and have traffic on your site that’s not converting, try lead magnets. They are a great way to attract your audience/potential buyer to start a conversation with you.

Never make the mistake of asking a prospect to buy your product/service the very first time they land on your site. Remember if you are selling widgets that are low cost items you don’t need to offer lead magnets or ebooks but if your service or product is in the low to mid 100’s it becomes imperative to build a relationship with your audience before you ask them to buy your product or service.

Use avenues of hyperlocal targeting like Nextdoors Neighborhood sponsorship. The Nextdoor app helps you to razor target your audience on a zip code level. Clearly this is a great way to check the demand for your product or service on a local level and build out additional value propositions.

Podium is another app you may want to check out.

Thx again my friends for taking time and listening to this episode. I hope I was able to inspire you to take that step and venture on your own. In the next episode we will dig into the “Can I do it phase”.

Until next time keep hustling my friends!

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