More and more Online Businesses are being started every day.
Stay-at-home mothers are selling products to other mothers online or via Facebook. Students with not much cash but plenty of energy are working through the night to become rich and famous fast. Mom-and-pop businesses are realising that if they don’t get online, they’ll be left behind.
So with all the opportunity and activity online, what should you do? How can you stand out from the crowd? And ensure your efforts aren’t wasted.
Here are a few things to consider before starting your Online Business.
Don’t just start an Online Business to make money. Make your Online Business one you will be proud of. Consider what are you are good at, have a talent for and what you have a passion for. The more you love what you do, the more passionate you are and the more you know about it, the more you will enjoy the work needed and be successful.
Confirm there is demand for your product, service or idea. Don’t just start any business – ensure there is demand for your product, service or idea. If your Online Business is providing something YOU want, use or need then chances are, there are plenty of people like you, looking for the same thing. But do your research, check the demand first and be realistic about your business’s potential.
Keywords are important, so research them. If you have come up with an idea, you need to be found on the Internet. And to be found on the Internet you need to target the right “keywords”. Keywords are the search words that people use when they are performing an online search for a product or service. Google has a free keyword research tool that you can use to check keywords and ensure you use the right words to be found on the Internet. Including these keywords in your Online Business name should help you rank on searches too.
Check that your Online Business name is not taken. Decide on your business name and check that it is not taken. If you are choosing a company name check the ASIC database for company names on the register to see if it is already registered. If you are only choosing a website name, you need to check the domain registries, like Netregistry. You should consider buying all the domain name variations that you can so that they are not available for anyone else in case you wish to expand and to ensure others do not copy your Online Business name in another country. Lastly, don’t forget to check the name is available on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. using an online tool like NameChk.
Make sure your website stands out from the crowd. Website design matters, but where to start? There are plenty of free and paid website design templates to choose from. But maybe you should consider investing in your own website designer and get a custom look and feel or special functionality. There are several design services where you can ‘advertise’ the work you want done and experienced designers and developers to bid for your project. Check out services like 99designs and Upwork. But make sure your read the previous reviews and go through their portfolios to make sure your designer can deliver what you want.
Own your IP, including code, logo and design. A word of warning – new Online Business owners often forget to make sure they fully own any design, code, logo or other intellectual property (IP) developed on their behalf by a website designer or developer. In particular, make sure you fully own your website. A properly drafted Website Contract will ensure that, at the end of the design work and after payment has been made, you have clear ownership of your website design and any code developed for it. This is important – you don’t want your website concept copied! And remember, if you cannot show clear ownership of the website, idea, concept, logos, design and software code, you will have difficulty selling or even obtaining finance to grow your Online Business.
What about Legals for your Online Business?
Ensure your website has appropriate Legal Notices. So you’ve decided on a name for your Online Business, bought the domain, chosen a look and feel, found a designer and maybe even a developer to set up your Online Business. What about having the right Legal Notices to protect you and your website? Unfortunately many people believe they are saving money by ‘copying’ someone else’s Legal Notices. First of all, if you do so, you are breaching someone else’s Copyright. Secondly, you don’t know whether their Notices are up to date or even suitable for your Online Business. And thirdly, they will not protect you or your business.
With the Australian law on Privacy and Consumer Protection changing regularly and rapidly, you need to ensure you and your Online Business comply and are protected against claims by customers and visitors. In addition, the ACCC are now checking websites and issuing penalties to non-conforming Online Businesses. After all the work you’ve put into setting up your Online Business do you really want to risk it? So get comprehensive Legals for your Online Business.
Now you are ready to go. Launch your website, start your marketing campaign and good luck!