Starting and scaling an online business has never been easier. It can be inexpensive to get started and the growth potential is significant.
With so many tips and resources on the internet, it can feel overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.
This blog compiles tips to get your online business idea rolling.
1 Identify your business idea
Whether you have a business idea or are still toying with some, it is important you get super clear on what exactly your business idea is before taking any other steps. Document your idea, perhaps even use a business plan template to ensure you include all the important details.
Your business idea needs to be a problem that needs solving, a gap you have identified in the market, interest in the product or service, and is affordable to your target market.
You need to be clear on how your business will work, how you will source your products or sell your services and define your branding.
2 Conduct research
To ensure your business idea is viable, it is important to conduct research. Whether it is a physical product, a digital product, or a service, this step should not be missed. Research helps you to understand exactly what your customers want and need, how you can best serve them, improvements you can make to your product, and iron out any kinks. More importantly, it verifies if your business idea is viable.
3 Laws and regulations
It is important that you research and familiarise yourself with laws and regulations that may affect your product, service, and business. This can include:
4 Competitor analysis
Researching your competitors is essential to launching your business. It helps you to determine what you are competing against, what is working well, and what isn’t. You can easily identify gaps in the market you can fill and create a competitive edge over your competitors.
5 Get yourself online
With billions of users online, it is imperative that businesses that want to survive get themselves online. Depending on your strategy and industry, there are many different platforms you can choose from. You must create a presence if you want to be successful and scale your business, but balance this with not spreading yourself too thin. It is best to determine (through your research) what platforms are best for your industry. This will usually entail 2-3 social media platforms and a website.
It’s not enough to just create a website and leave it running though. Your website needs to be a place where you drive all your customers to take them on a journey and build your relationship with them. This means investing in a web developer to design a functional site, an SEO specialist to drive organic traffic, and conduct regular customer experience research to enhance their experience and convert them into customers.
These tips are fundamental to get your business up and running, and in a position to scale and grow.
You’re getting more work than you can handle and it’s time to start expanding the team. But, how do you go about it? Finding the best candidates, especially for roles that require specific skills, isn’t always easy. Posting job ads is a good start, but it shouldn’t be the only way that you put those feelers out.
Don’t underestimate a strong network
Any professional that takes their career progression seriously is going to be well aware of the power of networking. Networking is where they can make themselves stand out by getting in touch with people that could be potential employers or references in future. As such, joining your local networking groups could put you in contact with some of the more driven and career-motivated individuals in your field. You can also make good connections with other employers and business owners that could reference talent to you.
Finding the talent you need
When it comes to more specific roles that require specialized talents or skills, then you could be looking for a relatively slim segment of the population. Finding them amongst the crowd can be difficult unless you go directly where they are. This can mean working with talent on demand recruitment agencies for one thing. These agencies can take the specific skills that you’re looking for and make sure that they find the registered candidates that are most likely to fit your specific needs. There are recruiters suited to all kinds of industries and roles so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right match.
Get that fresh talent
If you want motivated workers who are going to bring energy and enthusiasm to your startup, then there is an advantage to hiring those who are fresh out of college. They might not bring all of the experience in the world, but they are freshly caught up with the latest in their particular field of expertise. Going to school job fairs can be a great way to make a good impression on young specialists and can help build a pipeline of accessible talent for the business. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re able to present your business as an attractive option for any graduate.
Do you really need to hire for the role?
If what you need are experience and expertise, but you might not need them for a permanent and long-term basis, then you might want to reconsider whether you should be hiring someone at all. The costs of recruitment are worth factoring in, after all, and can up if you fill too many roles that aren’t going to be there next year. Instead, you might want to look more closely at where outsourcing could be the answer.
The company that puts more time into source the right people is going to be the company that builds the strongest team. That’s simply how it works. You can still get perfectly good (and even the best) candidates from wanted ads sometimes. But you want to cast your net more widely and more purposefully to get a good selection.
Thousands of mums think about launching a business every year. In truth, they are probably more appealing than ever in the post-pandemic era. Aside from the logistical benefits when raising a family, it puts fate in your hands. Considering how unstable jobs have looked over the last 18 months, there has never been a better time to start.
Before jumping straight in at the deep end, though, you must know what to expect. With the following information at your disposal, you won’t go far wrong.
There Will Be Tough Times Ahead
If you expect the journey ahead to be plain sailing from start to finish, you should think again. Starting a business is hard work and will require you to work long hours to get the idea up and running. Therefore, it’s imperative that you take the time to consider your home business options. The right solution will be something you feel passionate about as being engaged with the work will spur you on. SImply chasing where you think the money is will not work.
Besides, if potential customers will be able to tell that your heart isn’t in it. In turn, they will take their custom elsewhere. For the sake of your enjoyment, engagement, and impact on clients, calculated decisions are key.
Separating Work And Leisure Is Vital
Maintaining a strong work-life balance is vital for all workers and entrepreneurs. When working from home, though, you run the risk of letting the two aspects merge together. This will consequently harm your productivity and stop you from leading a happy life.
Creating a comfortable home office is crucial, not least because it is a mental barrier between your work and living spaces. This should help you mentally compartmentalise the two aspects of your world. You also need to stop the threat of your home becoming overcrowded with work stuff. Using archive storage solutions is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening. Alternatively, going paperless where possible will seriously aid the cause.
You Can’t Do It All Alone
One of the great things about working from home is that you get to enjoy the space alone. As a business owner, though, you must not fall into the trap of thinking you can do it all alone. Even if you have the skills, completing simple admin tasks will stand in your way of attending to key issues. Therefore, hiring remote workers is vital. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day. Trying to do it all alone simply won’t work. And you’d also lose interest very quickly.
Besides, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Customer care teams, markets, IT experts, and other remote-based workers can use theirs to support yours. With the right assistance, the company can keep performing even when you take a day off.
Prevention Is The Best Form Of Protection
Building a successful business from home isn’t. Naturally, then, you must go the extra mile to prevent any threats against it. The harsh reality is that cybercriminals will target small companies as they assume the digital protection won’t be as strong.
This is one of many reasons to implement improved digital data protection and cybersecurity. However, you should also invest in home CCTV services. They protect your property as well as the company. Further steps towards safer business operations include getting a virtual office address. This stops anyone from finding out where you live. In addition to the personal rewards, this step can help build a better brand image. It looks like you operate from a prestigious location.
You Are Your Biggest USP
When building your home-based business, branding and marketing are key features. Consumers want to connect with brands that they can relate to. As such, promoting your personality is an essential feature. This will enable you to target a niche market with far greater results. It is far better to succeed with a small audience than fail with a big one. Your personal brand will additionally help remote employees buy into the brand. Building a community is king.
While reaching out to the public is crucial, you mustn’t forget people nearer to home. Friends and family can become your first customers. And they can also spread the word on your behalf. It costs them nothing to do this and could open a door to greater success.
Financial Organisation Is Crucial
The success or failure of your home-based business will boil down to the financial health of the venture. Staying financially organised is vital. It will allow you to identify areas where you are wasting money. In turn, this should enable you to address those issues.
This could mean changing internet providers or suppliers. Financial organisational skills will allow you to manage your bills with ease. So, you can avoid missed payments. Teaming up with accounting services can help you claim back the deductibles you are entitled to. However, this can only happen if you keep hold of your receipts and invoices. Otherwise, you will be unable to make claims. Conversely, good organisation lets you know exactly where you stand at any given time.
There Will Be Doubters
When starting your new home-based business, you will attract some negativity. Some of it will come from loved ones who don’t understand the modern landscape or don’t want you to take risks. Other negative thoughts will come from people that are jealous. This can come from social media or even so-called friends. Many people see another person’s success as a reason to feel worse about themselves. So, they tried to hold you back. You must not allow this to happen.
Human nature dictates that you will dwell on negativity even when positivity outweighs it. Honestly, the best thing you can do is surround yourself with positive and aspirational people. It becomes a support network that will spur you on.
There’s No Time Like The Present
Finally, the pandemic has created opportunities for home-based businesses to thrive. While it’s not the right choice for everyone, true entrepreneurs should not let the opportunity pass them by. With the right belief and plan of action, you can turn your dreams into a reality.
When it comes to growing a business, there are a couple of important considerations that all companies need to keep in mind regardless of their size. One of those factors is technology, or rather, what you choose to do with the technology that you have. If we think about it in basic terms, technology is just a helpful tool that assists us in saving time and unlocking more complicated actions that can be done at the push of a button. With this in mind, we can start thinking of technology as a helpful tool that gives us more options in the future.
But technology isn’t cheap. While there are many free and inexpensive options, we ultimately need to pay a lot of money to use technology even if we’re running a small home-based business. In that case, is it really worth investing in expensive technologies as a business? Or is there a limit to how much you should spend?
Tech can be cheap if you get the right package
Technology can be surprisingly cheap to own these days. Many people believe that you need a new up-to-date laptop or computer in order to run a business, but the reality is that even a refurbished Windows laptop on eBay can be a good choice because you’re mostly just using office productivity applications and sending emails.
However, if you do need to make a software-related purchase, you can actually get much cheaper options by picking the right packages. For example, you could try different cloud storage services to find the best-value one for your needs. There are some great-value software and cloud service packages that can really give your business a boost for a small investment. This is why it’s important to always look for alternative options.
Consultancy is usually a good starting point
If you’re unsure whether or not your home-based business could do with a tech upgrade, then consultancy is usually a great place to start. For example, you might want to consider MPLS network consultancy if you’re planning to expand your home-based business into an office and want to establish a solid foundation for communication services.
No matter what your budget is, consultation services are usually a great investment because they’ll give you the knowledge and expertise that you need to succeed in business.
Technology should save time and money
At the end of the day, we use technology to save time and money. If investing in a piece of technology means that you’ll need to spend additional funds on training and setup, then it’s probably not going to be worth implementing unless your business really needs it.
In many cases, home-based business owners will invest in technology that is seen as industry-standard but they’ll neglect the possibility that it’s currently out of their league and unnecessary for their level of business. If you want to save a lot of money, you should generally only invest in expensive tech solutions once you’re absolutely sure that they will benefit your business.
Are you looking for ways to improve your business? If so, then you need to think about ways to boost your financial situation. There are lots of possibilities that could be worth exploring here and that will improve your financial position in the long term. Here are some of the options that we do recommend you keep in mind.
Hire An Accountant
First, you need to make sure that you are hiring an accountant. An accountant can save from a lot of the major financial issues that you can run into when running a business. One of the ways that they can do this is by keeping an accurate record of your business books. This might sound like a simple or basic step but it’s one that people do often forget. If you are worried that you can’t keep your business books in order, then an accountant is the right choice for you. They can also help you at key times such as when you need to pay your taxes. If you can’t afford an account a cloud accounting service fills the same role and is far cheaper.
Manage Your Technical Debt
It’s easy to understand financial debt in your business. Technical debt is far more complex and abstract. Due to this, it’s often missed completely. There are various ways to handle your technical debt but one of the best would be to explore the solutions offered by a PE services company. A business like this will help you manage your technical debt more effectively and free up the capital that you need.
Save In The Right Areas
You also need to make sure that you are saving money in the right areas of your business. There are lots of ways to save in a typical company model. However, we recommend that you focus on treating every purchase or service with the same level of importance. In other words, you should be price-checking every element of your company to ensure that you’re not shelling out more than you should be.
Of course, if you’re looking for the best way to save money in your business model, then you need to think about how you can make your company far more green-friendly. While there are various ways that you can do this, we recommend that you think about exploring renewable energy resources. For instance, you could think about adding solar panels to your business property. The right solar panels will allow you to cut your energy bill down to size and get the big benefits that you need in terms of massive annual savings. An investment like this will also pay for itself in just a few years so it’s essentially free. Particularly when you consider the different subsidies that are available.
We hope this helps you understand the best ways to keep your business healthy financially. If you take the right steps here, then you will be able to ensure that your company has a fantastic future on the market free from some of the more troubling issues.
No matter what the size of your business it is vital that your products get in front of the people most likely to need and to buy them. Of course, this means you need to market your business as effectively as possible. However, many home businesses don’t seem to go much beyond telling their friends or sending out pamphlets and flyers. Yet the truth of the matter is there is so much more you can be doing to get your product, brand, and reputation out there. Keep reading to find out what.
Try some positive PR
PR or public relations is a great way to get people to take notice of your business and drum up some positivity too. Although to secure some good PR you have to be involved in something newsworthy.
In particular, working with local charities, educational institutions, and even sports teams can be a good call. Being nominated or getting an award usually works pretty well too. Just be sure to submit a proper press release to your local news outlet, otherwise, they may not take you seriously.
Get on social networking sites
There are a myriad of marketing opportunities to take advantage of on social media, and many of them are low-cost or even free. In particular, using your social media accounts as well to integrate your brand into the everyday lives of potential customers can pay dividends later on. As can responding to mentions, and encouraging reviews online too.
You may even choose to use the advertising features that many social media sites now have. Some even allow in post-shopping which enables customers to click on an item, and being taken straight to your site to buy it, something that means they don’t even have to leave the post they are on to make a purchase.
Use visual content
While a lot of work-from-home businesses rely on written content, it is vital to remember that visuals can often pack more of a punch. Indeed, where possible using photos and videos can get your point across quickly, clearly, and succinctly, not to mention the great potential that videos have to be shared online.
Of course, not everyone fancies themselves as the next Spielberg or has the time to come up with videos to market their work from home business. However, the good news is that you can get professionals like this animated video production studio to do the hard work for you. Something that means you will be left with an effective and captivating animation that will drive potential clients to your business.
Offer you expertise
Last of all, when it comes to marketing your work from home business, do not forget the most valuable resource of all, – you! After all, there is no one better positioned to talk with confidence about what you do in your business, and in your field of expertise generally.
The funny thing is that there will be plenty of people that will want to hear about this and by attending webinars, guest posting and even making comments online you can establish yourself as a trustworthy expert in your field, and so give extra credence to your business.
Running your own business can be a remarkably positive, powerful, and uplifting thing to do.
For one thing, it puts you in a position of true autonomy, where you are in control of your own destiny in a way that you simply aren’t if you are working a conventional job.
For another thing, running your own business allows you to express your own creative vision, and put something out into the world that you are truly proud of.
Of course, running your own business also comes with various challenges – and perhaps one of the most common of those challenges is the issue of striking the right holistic balance in your life to prevent burnout.
Just as it’s a good idea to consider holistic solutions to practical concerns, such as solar thermal energy, it’s equally important to do the same with regards to the microcosm of our own lives.
Here are some tips for maintaining holistic balance when running your own business.
Focus primarily on your short-term obligations, with longer-term goals being signposts
Many people in general – and many entrepreneurs in particular – run themselves into the ground and lose the right sort of balance in their everyday lives, primarily because they are totally fixated on achieving their lofty long-term goals, to the exclusion of the present moment.
While it’s certainly necessary to have a long-term vision, and some long-term goals, in order to run a successful business – freeing yourself from the stress and perpetual future-focus that goes along with this is very important if you want to safeguard your well-being.
A good solution is to focus primarily on your short-term obligations in the day-to-day – such as the to-dos and routines you need to attend to that day – and to use your longer-term goals primarily as signposts and reference points that you don’t fixate on.
Keep set routines for mealtimes, sleep, and the end of the work day
To maintain any sort of holistic balance in your life, it is essential to maintain certain set routines that help to structure your time, and prevent eroding the lines that separate your personal and professional lives.
The most important routines to keep in place are likely to be regular meal times, a regular sleep and wake schedule, and a set time each day when you will end the working day and have time to spend by yourself and with your family and loved ones.
Batch tasks together and let yourself get caught up in the flow of the projects you’re working on
The concept of a “flow state,” describes a psychological frame of mind where we are fully engaged in a task, and have the sensation of our sense of self fading into the background.
“Flow states” feel very good, and they are typically states we associate with the greatest degree of creativity and true productivity.
To optimise these flow states, batch similar tasks together in your professional life so that you can really engross yourself in them, and then switch your attention fully to something else when you’re done.
If your business is designed to support patients in their daily lives, you must first learn to help yourself. Without the right preparations in place, it will place restrictions on virtually every aspect of the venture.
You’d never overlook patient care. But you could easily miss some of the factors that indirectly impact your ability to provide a world-class service. Here are five things you should do to avoid this problem.
1- Know Your Finances
It feels a little sad to start the process by thinking about financial aspects. However, health care companies rely on funding more than most. So, using accountancy software to gain a deep understanding of the financial situation is advised. This will subsequently allow you to know whether fundraising is needed and where cutbacks should be made. It may also encourage you to think about seeking grants or any other government support that may be available. They can take some of the financial pressures away.
2- Keep Employees Engaged
Health care is as much about human interactions as it is about medications or treatments. Therefore, keeping employees engaged at all times is a necessity. Using regular team outings to promote positive relationships between colleagues will work wonders. Meanwhile, you should ensure that care tasks are delegated fairly for all staff members. If new software and techniques can be implemented to keep the work more engaging without compromising the care, this is ideal.
3 – Think About Workspace Requirements
The requirements for your health care or social care business will be largely determined by the type of service. A residential home for seniors, for example, will have contrasting needs to a social care in the community operation. Thinking about the needs for office spaces, storage spaces, and facilities for treatments or patient comfort will be key. When the settings are tailored to overcome the challenges you may face, the chances of sustained success are far greater.
4- Maintain Safety
Maintaining a safe working environment is vital for patients and residents as well as the employees. However, it also has a telling influence on the company, not least due to legal compliance. Completing fire safety courses for the care industry is a legal requirement. Meanwhile, given the private nature of the info held on record, you must also look to implement the very strangest data protection. When supported by security cameras and alarms, the company’s health will soar.
5- Know When To Take Breaks
Social care work and health care work are emotionally draining. Likewise, the long hours can harm your physical wellness. Therefore, taking regular vacations or days off should be considered mandatory for all team members. It is also highly advised to allow for breaks during the day. If working on-site, it’s worth having a water cooler and a staff break room with good facilities. Just a few minutes to prepare for the next challenge can make a world of difference during a difficult shift. It shows carers that they are valued too.
Look after your business, and you will be in a better position to care for the patients or public.
Working from home is something that offers many benefits to employees, employers, and the self-employed. Although some businesses will by their very nature need a shop or office because they are customer-facing, many more don’t require these things, and a home office,properly set up, can be just as good and, in many cases, better.
Working from home is certainly something that can make you more efficient both in terms of the way you live and the way you work. Read on to find out some of the reasons why this is, and it might help you make up your mind about working from home from now on.
It Saves You Money
One of the best reasons for working from home is that it can save you money – in some cases, a lot of money. To start with, you won’t have to pay out for the rent on an office or storefront, something that can add up to many thousands of pounds every year. This means that you can lower your prices (if you choose to) because you won’t need to make so much profit, leading you to become much more competitive. If you want to keep your prices the same, you’ll make more profit. Either way, it’s a good thing.
On top of that, you’ll save money on your transport costs. You won’t have to pay for fuel or train or bus tickets, and you can focus more on your work.
You Can Get More Done
If you work from home, you can get more done. Why is this? Firstly, following on from the above point, you’ll have more time. Without the long daily commute to deal with, you can start work much earlier and work later, using the time you would have been driving or sitting on a train to accomplish more. Your free time won’t change, so you won’t be sacrificing anything to get this extra work completed.
Alternatively, you might not use this extra time to work. When we say you can get more done, we mean anything at all. If you want to watch your kids play sports, or clean the house, or replace the fuel tanks in your family’s cars, or even just take a break, you can. With these extra hours in the day, you will be more productive, plus you can take the chance to relax more, helping you get more done because you’re less stressed. It works every way you look at it.
You Don’t Have To Be Away From Your Family
Have you been in the position of having to choose work or your family? Many people – especially mothers – have had to make this choice over the decades, and it’s a hard one. Should you go out and work on your career and use childminders for your children, or should you stay at home and care for them but not have as much money?
Working from home means you don’t have to make that choice. Although it’s still undoubtedly a difficult thing to do, and it may still feel stressful, when you’re at home working with your children, you do at least have the choice. You don’t have to sacrifice your career for your family or vice versa.
Many would imagine that working from home is a dream come true; it’s convenient, inexpensive, and in a lot of cases, it can improve the work-life balance. However, it’s not for everyone, and not all businesses will benefit from this way of working. If you have recently started tolaunch a business or you’re about to, or you have been working from home but now realise that it would be better to have a dedicated office, how can you find the ideal space to work from? Here are some ideas.
Decide What You Need
Offices come in all shapes and sizes – literally – and there are lots of different options. Many people like the flexibility of being able to lease offices that they can use as and when they want to, for example, on a flexible basis. In contrast, others would prefer to rent one permanently. Or perhaps you want to get a bigger offer than you actually need right now because you intend to grow the business and hire more people.
There is a lot to think about, and this is why you need to think carefully about what you need from an office – what is it you’re looking for? When you have listed out the must-haves, you’ll be able to choose a suitable space for your business.
Work Out Your Budget
You know what you need, but what can you afford, and do your needs and budget match up? It’s easy to find a lovely looking office that feels just right and ticks all the boxes, but if you can’t afford it, you’ll either be disappointed and have to start your search again, or – worse – you’ll sign a contract and then realise that your finances won’t cover it. At that stage, it might be impossible to do anything but try to scrape the money together each month, and this will clearly damage your business.
Work out your budget so that you know exactly how much you can comfortably spend on your office space. This will make the search more fruitful and ensure that your business thrives instead of dies.
Find The Right Location
Location is much more important than you might think when you’re choosing the perfect office space for your business. Of course, if you rely on footfall and customers actually coming to your shop or place of work, then having a location in the same place as your potential customers are is crucial. However, what you might not think about is that location is still important even if you’re not customer-facing.
The location of your office needs to be somewhere that is easy to get to, otherwise you’ll start to dread your journey to and from work each day, and you might even find that, when you hire people, they are put off because of where their place of work would be or the lack of nearby parking or public transport options. You could miss out on some excellent candidates because of this seemingly insignificant detail.