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How to start an online store in 3 steps

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This post was originally published on May 23, 2019, and was updated on Sept. 17, 2021.

Why is it important to understand how to start an online store if commerce is your game? Where should we start?

We are living in the midst of a digital age. In today’s world, consumers are no longer bound by one particular geographical location — and this trend has only been accelerated by COVID-19.

Nowadays people have the power to connect with their peers, conduct research, consume content, and most importantly shop wherever they are in the world with a few swipes of a screen. And that means that in the current climate, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business, building an online store might be the best thing you ever do.

Why consider building an online store?

At present, over 2.14 billion active people shop online — and that’s on a global scale. Even earning a small slice of the ecommerce pie will see you in excellent commercial stead.

  • On average, men spend $220 per online transaction and women spend $151 per transaction. That’s a high-value average spend per customer.
  • The main reason people shop online is that they’re able to buy items or products 24/7, literally.
  • The market size of ecommerce online shopping is expected to reach 4 trillion by the end of 2021.
  • Globally, 49% of consumers shop for goods or services online more now than they did pre-COVID-19.
If you know how start an online store the right way, you’ll be able to boost your profits significantly and grow your business year after year.

 

With a little know-how, an excellent idea and a powerful ecommerce solution for building and maintaining your online store, you will reap great rewards.

Inspired? Great, let’s continue.

Related: Tips to boost sales in 2021 with Websites + Marketing

How to start an online store in 3 steps

It’s clear that if you’re a modern business, entering the ecommerce arena is a wise move. To help you start your digital journey, here’s our how-to guide to create an online store, broken down into three simple steps:

  1. Fine-tune your idea.
  2. Start your free trial and create your own online store.
  3. Promote your online store.

Let’s get started.

1. Fine-tune your idea

At this point, it’s likely that you know what you want to sell. Start fine-tuning your idea by deciding on a business name, conducting market research, and finding your audience.

Consider these questions: What makes your brand stand out from others in your niche? What particular pain points do you solve?

Choosing your business name and domain name

When it comes to naming your ecommerce business, choosing a name that is digestible, memorable, relevant, good for digital marketing purposes and will work well as a domain name is a must.

This comprehensive guide to naming a business will walk you through everything you need to know.

When choosing a domain, think .shop or .store for general ecommerce, or get more specific with .jewelry, .clothing, .coffee and more.

Go ahead, give it a try:

Market research for your product

The ecommerce game is competitive. What will make your venture stand apart?

There are a host of ways to assess how your idea compares to other similar businesses online. Here are the most important:

Do your friends and family think it’s worthwhile?

Group of friends on a mountain

Offer your products for free — or for a sizable discount — to friends and family. Monitor how they respond to your product.

  • Do they love it? If so, find out what features are most appealing to them.
  • Is there anything about your product they would change? Get details.
  • Did they enjoy their customer experience? What about your service made it shine?
  • Would they be willing to pay full price? What do they think your product is actually worth?
  • Would they be willing to recommend your product to others in their networks and become brand advocates?

Gathering this level of feedback and data is a brilliant way to refine your product idea before unleashing it on the public.

Another key aspect of market research is looking at your competitors. Signing to email subscriber lists and monitoring brand conversations via social media are effective ways to analyze the way your competitors are talking to your target audience as well as gaining an understanding of what they’re offering.

By gathering this market intelligence, you can find ways to offer more value to your target audience while filling in any product, service or content-based gaps your direct competitors have overlooked.

Find and define your target audience

In digital marketing, there’s a well-known saying: “If you’re talking to everybody, you’re not talking to anybody.”

Basically, if you don’t understand your target audience — or how to connect with them — your broad, generic content or brand messaging is likely to offer little value and as such, become overlooked.

When it comes to knowing how to start an online store the right way, understanding where to aim your efforts is essential.

Yet, despite the vital importance of identifying and focusing on a specific target audience, many ecommerce businesses struggle with this notion. When asked to describe their audience, a host of brands often answer in broad, vague, almost meaningless terms.

When you fail to define your target audience, your promotional efforts will suffer in the following ways:

  • You won’t be able to craft strong, authentic branding that resonates with potential customers.
  • Your marketing communications will be flat and uninspired.
  • You won’t be able to encourage customer loyalty, one of the cornerstones of any successful eCommerce business.
  • You will fail to stand out from the competition.
  • You won’t be able to improve your offerings as you won’t have an idea of how your products can address your customers’ specific pain points.

Related: Why a target audience matters and how to find yours

How to define your target audience

Woman kneeling in front of row of archery targets

To help you avoid such calamities, defining your target audience is essential. That said, here’s a practical outline of how to classify your target audience in a specific, value-driven way that gets results, based on certain characteristics you should focus on:

  • Demographics: Statistical data relating to your audience
  • Professional details: Information concerning jobs, competencies and places of work
  • Psychographics: Metrics and details based on personality traits and innate qualities
  • Goals: Descriptions of what your audience is looking to accomplish
  • Challenges: Pain points and problems your audience faces on a regular basis
  • Influences: Media and impressions your audience typically encounters
  • Buying process: How your target audience makes purchasing decisions
  • Behaviors: An extension of ‘Buying Process’ with a wider scope, looking at how your target consumers interact across all channels and touchpoints including mobile apps and social media.

The more you drill down into these facets of information, the better and more targeted your marketing will be. Plus, if you’d like to know your audience on an even deeper level, here’s a practical guide to defining buyer personas for your reading pleasure.

2. Start your free trial and create your own online store

Once you’ve considered all of the key ingredients of a successful web-based ecommerce business, it’s time to start thinking about making it happen, in a practical sense.

The simplest and fastest way to get your online shop up and running is by using a templated ecommerce store.

With this option, you get it all in one quick install. An ecommerce website package includes an online shop website template (aka website theme), product pages, shopping cart, payment processing feature and hosting for the site.

Instead of building your store piece by piece, you can install the whole store at once.

GoDaddy’s Online Store includes all of these essentials plus award-winning customer support, tools for integrating with online marketplaces, Facebook and Google Analytics, and more. Bonus: You can start for free.

Let’s take a look at a step-by-step blueprint to help you create an online store using GoDaddy’s intuitive ecommerce website builder.

Start your free trial

To take that first small but essential step in making your online store a reality, sign up for your free trial.

GoDaddy Online Store landing page with free trial button

Set up your account and define your settings

Once you click on the Start for Free button, you’ll enter your business category to get the ball rolling and shape the direction of your brand new easy ecommerce website.

Pop up window to choose a category during GoDaddy Online Store setup

To help you get started, refer to:

Choose your template

With your framework (the foundations and fundamentals of your online store) firmly in place, the next step is choosing your website’s overall appearance by selecting a template from a range of eye-catching options. Once you’ve selected your theme, you can change the font and color of your page and customize it to your satisfaction.

Theme selection page in GoDaddy Online Store

Build online store pages: product pages and more

Here’s where you start building your site out beyond the home page. You can start with the home page and reorder or remove any of the elements. Then, go through and do the same to the other default pages: About Us, Shop and Contact Us.

With Online Store the Home, Shop and About Us pages are automatically listed with suggested fields, but you can easily customize each page to your liking and add new pages.

Options for adding new pages in GoDaddy Online Store

Fundamentally, a compelling ecommerce product page offers an intuitive, navigable and satisfying user experience (UX), so be sure to keep it simple and test your pages with people you trust.

You don’t want to launch your site, only to find that no one can figure out how to find your products.

Update ecommerce website settings

Once your easy ecommerce site has materialized — filled with dazzling product pages, images, colors, fonts and user-friendly functionality — you’ll need to update your site settings to make those all-important final touches prior to going live.

GoDaddy Online Store settings page

Once you’ve entered the settings section of your account, you’ll need to consider the following elements and update them to your particular preferences:

  1. Update all of your business contact information so that it’s present and correct.
  2. Settle on your domain name by using your existing one, buying a domain name or using the free domain name.
  3. Optimize all of your pages for SEO purposes by using the platform’s in-built SEO tools.
  4. Link all of your active social media accounts to your online store.
  5. If necessary, set up site cookies and traffic notifications, in addition to Favicon, Facebook Pixel and Pinterest meta tags. You can do this according to your own personal preference.

If you need extra help with any of these elements, be sure to check out GoDaddy’s dedicated help page for Online Store.

Manage your store: shipping, payment options, etc

Now, before the big launch, there’s one final thing you need to do — and it’s critical — if you want to make any money, that is. Yes, you might have guessed it. You need to add products and set up your payment methods.

To get to these settings, click on the Store icon under the Website settings tab. This will take you to a new screen.

GoDaddy Online Store options screen

From there, you’ll find a new page that has all your product-related options, like adding a product, adding payment options, shipping and more.

GoDaddy Online Store setup options

Products

Adding a product is simple. Upload an image, and include the name, description, price, tax category and other basic information. Once you save it, your product will be in the Shop section (under Pages) of the Online Store.

Adding a new product on GoDaddy Online Store

Related: How to create a compelling ecommerce product page

Payments

Next, you’ll want to be sure to set up your payment options. With GoDaddy Online Store, you have the option to use GoDaddy Payments, PayPal, Square, Stripe and offline payments.

Online Store payment options

Once you’ve set up your preferred payment offerings, select your shipping options to fulfill your orders. Click on the payment type you want to add and you’ll be redirected to a form that will take all of the information.

To help you do so, here are a couple of essential resources to reference as you set up your online store:

Pro tip: Feeling a bit lost? Click on the Next Steps button at the top right of the dashboard and you’ll receive a tailored list of steps you’ll want to take to make your ecommerce website a success.

Shipping

GoDaddy Online Store shipping options

Calculate the cost of shipping your products, and select a shipping method (free, flat rate or weight-based) that will best serve your customers and business.

Related: Top-notch shipping tips for your online store

Taxes

Don’t forget about taxes when you sell online. Talk to an accountant to determine whether or not you need to charge tax on your online sales.

Related: When are business taxes due and how can you prepare now?

Term of service and conditions

Clearly post a refunds and terms of service policy on your website and prompt users to agree to it before they make a purchase. This is essential as it will showcase your brand’s transparency while helping you avoid any costly consumer conflicts of interests later down the line.

Related: Returns and refunds policy templates for online shopping sites

Coupon codes

Within your store, you have options for creating coupons for discounted rates or on individual products. Explore how you can use coupons to reward new or loyal customers.

Customer reviews

GoDaddy’s Online Store includes a review feature. More than half of customers read reviews before making a purchase, so encourage your happy customers to leave reviews after their purchases.

Related: Generate reviews — 8 ways to get more product reviews

Tips: Important elements of an ecommerce website

While there are only a few essential elements that you must have to create an online store, there are many other components that will help you get the most out of your ecommerce shop.

Product details and photos

Don’t just post product pages and hope your items will sell. Instead, create interesting and useful product detail pages with sales copy that lists benefits, features and specifications. And be sure to include photos that show the product in detail.

The best product descriptions inspire, engage, address specific pain points and, most importantly, tell a story.

Related: How to write product descriptions to increase sales

CTA on every page

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are critical elements for ecommerce websites.

There are a variety of CTAs, but the ultimate goal is to move a prospect down the sales funnel. This can be anything from getting a lead (newsletter signup CTAs are great for that) to turning a lead into a customer (buy-one-get-one CTAs can do the trick).

Related: 8 costly call-to-action mistakes you’re making on your website

Publish your store

If you’ve added everything we’ve mentioned here, then it’s time to take your site live. GoDaddy’s Online Store makes this simple, with a simple click of a button.

Publish button for GoDaddy Online Store

Ready to get started with your own online store? Sign up for your free ecommerce site builder today!

3. Promote your online store

Black and white letterboard with the word “Sale”

The third and final element of our how to start an online store guide comes in the form of promotion or marketing.

Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea and actually created your online store, it’s time to shout about it to your target audience.

Here we’re going to explain how to promote an online store, expand your reach, and enjoy the profit-boosting success you no doubt deserve.

There are a host of avenues you can take when marketing your online store to prospective buyers, from connecting your website to popular third-party vendors to social media, email marketing and more.

But, before we delve into these all-important areas, it’s important to reiterate the importance of spreading the word about your online store.

Why you need to promote your online store

Many small business owners think that once they have created an online store their job is done.

In fact, that’s where the fun begins. Not everyone who creates an online store is successful in making it their primary source of income. But those who are successful have a few common characteristics:

They love their customers

Ask any successful online seller what they like about their business and they will have a ton of heart-warming customer stories on the tips of their tongues. They live to make  their customers’ lives better.

They are scrappy and savvy marketers

The most successful online sellers have figured out a way to spread the word in their customer community. Some do it through social media marketing. Others identify influencers in their community and have them promote their product. Some business owners come up with clever viral marketing campaigns by promoting their products with special discounts.

It’s all about trying various marketing tactics and adapting to what works.

 

Related: 5 marketing lessons from businesses thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic

This last step in the journey to becoming a successful online seller is an iterative process — an ongoing effort to keep on improving your product and the lives of your customers. And here we’re going to give you more essential advice on how to promote an online store.

Connect with online marketplaces

As mentioned earlier, connecting your online store to renowned ecommerce marketplaces is an excellent way of enhancing your profit-making potential while expanding your promotional reach.

If you appear in more online shopping spaces, more consumers will be able to interact with your brand messaging, explore your products, and buy stuff from you.

GoDaddy Online Store makes it easy to integrate your website with popular marketplaces including Amazon, Walmart, Google, eBay, Walmart and Etsy.

Related: Sell your products on Amazon, Etsy, eBay and Google using Websites + Marketing Marketplaces

Build an email marketing list

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still one of the most effective promotional methods available to today’s ecommerce brands. If you’re just starting your journey into ecommerce entrepreneurship, you might not have the capital to spend on a host of pricey promotions. But, as you’ll no doubt know by now, promoting your online store is essential if you want to be a success.

To ensure your emails get read and help to boost your store’s bottom line, you will need to build a targeted email list of willing recipients that are open to receiving your communications. While this can prove tricky at first, once you’ve learned the fundamentals and found a little momentum, you will be cooking with gas.

To help you do just that, GoDaddy’s Online Store includes email marketing functionality built-in for free. To get started, take a look at this walkthrough.

Related: Websites + Marketing — Enhanced email marketing features for your business

Embrace social media marketing

Person holding phone with various social media icons displayed

As one of the world’s most influential communication-based mediums, social media marketing is key to getting eyes on your online store.

Getting it right is essential if you want to promote your ecommerce business effectively.

Social media has become a staple of our daily lives — a way to connect (or reconnect) with friends and family, share pieces of our lives with our followers, and “spy” on others. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook help us stay abreast of the latest trends. LinkedIn has become a go-to source for job hunters and recruiters alike. And image-based sites such as Pinterest and Instagram feed us with visual inspiration 24/7. But, until fairly recently, social media wasn’t a must-have marketing tool for business.

That changed.

Social networking can make companies more accessible for customers, give them viral exposure, and revolutionize the way businesses market their products.

For businesses that sell products online, getting social offers additional perks — from a free way to offer incentives to an organic means for building buzz about specific products.

With a little bit of know-how, online sellers can use social media to take ecommerce sales to new heights.

Related: How to create a social media strategy for the new normal

Offer incentives

Customers love a good deal, and word-of-mouth (or social sharing) helps promote your products/services more effectively than paid ads. How? Because people trust and want what their friends are talking about.

A simple and affordable way to increase your social following and draw new visitors to your online store is through giveaways and discounts.

By offering new followers a 15% discount for liking your page, for example, or by hosting a giveaway where contestants share a picture/post from your site to get entered to win a prize, you can quickly develop loyal customers and viral success.

Related: Email marketing coupons — Best practices for driving sales with discounts

Engage with your customers

People love talking about products and services they’ve used. Whether a customer’s experiences are good or bad, your business’s social profile is a place where they can go to engage and share their feedback about the products they use.

The one-on-one interaction can give incredible insight into what you’re doing right, and what needs improvement.

 

Remember, it’s important to keep the social in social media! Don’t be THAT business that’s constantly pushing products. Take the opportunity to connect with your customers and find ways to promote through conversation.

Related: The best tips for responding to reviews online

Use share buttons

A great way to promote your products online is by adding share buttons to your product pages and home page. The buttons allow customers and social visitors to showcase their interest in your products on their own social profiles.

Whether they’re sharing their recent purchases, sending a gift idea to their mom through Facebook messenger, or adding a product to their Pinterest pinboard — they are marketing for you.

Now that you have three easy ways to leverage social media to boost eCommerce sales, it’s time you get socializing! It’s a commonly known fact that social networking sites are where people spend a large chunk of their time — and so should your business.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Share customer testimonials and positive reviews

Person showing a thumbs-up sign

In today’s world, consumers trust the thoughts, feelings and opinions of their peers over adverts or promotional messaging. That said, customer testimonials and genuine positive reviews are like promotional golddust for your eCommerce business.

Customer testimonials are priceless quotes or snippets that are generally short, snappy and to the point.

 

As they take up little physical space, it’s easy to add testimonials to your website or use them in print collateral and email outreach.

To unlock the full potential of using positive reviews and testimonials for your business, check out our dedicated guide, complete with case studies.

Explore discounts and coupons

The final recommendation for promoting an online store is offering deals and discounts. We’ve mentioned this a few times already, but it’s especially important when spreading the word about products or services.

By offering coupons, deals and discounts, you’ll be able to boost your levels of engagement and attract prospects to your brand.

You can get incredibly creative with discounts and coupons, using them in your various marketing communications. The sky really is the limit!

Manage online business listings

If your business is locally based, be sure to keep your business listings updated. To get people to your site (and in your store if you have a physical location), you’ll need to ensure people can find you in a local search.

Make sure your contact information is accurate on all platforms, including your website, social media pages, Yelp, Google and wherever else visitors will search for your store.

Tip: It’s never a bad idea to add a map to the Contact page on your ecommerce website. This will make your user experience (UX) offerings all the more seamless while incentivizing your prospects to check you out!

Conclusion and next steps

“eCommerce is not an industry; eCommerce is a tactic.” ~Tobias Lutke

An ecommerce website can open a large, new frontier for your business. You will be able to sell to millions around the world instead of the thousands in your neighborhood. You will be able to tap into a billion-dollar market. And, you will be able to give your business an opportunity to expand and grow with minimal risk and low investment costs. And, now is the time to strike.

Once you’ve fine-tuned your idea with a great name and thorough market testing, an easy ecommerce website is just a few steps away.

Start with a free trial of GoDaddy Online Store.

Begin with a few products that you showcase on your ecommerce site with stellar photos and product descriptions. Prompt store visitors to take action with compelling CTAs and authentic customer testimonials and reviews. Make it easy for customers to pay via various methods. Offer multiple shipping options — including free shipping.

These are the basics that will get your online store up and running.

Then you can focus on expanding your product line and growing your business through digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, social media and online business listings.

Now that you know how to create an online store, get going and make those dreams a reality.

The post How to start an online store in 3 steps appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.



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How to Kick-Start Your Online Clothing Resale Gig

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With the recent rise of resale apps like Depop and Poshmark, the idea of selling old clothes online is becoming more fashionable. Many people have turned clothing resale into a lucrative side gig or even a full-time job, gaining thousands of followers and making dozens of sales per week.

The secondhand-clothing market is projected to more than triple by 2030, according to a 2021 study by reselling platform Mercari and research firm GlobalData, as more fashion enthusiasts clean out their closets and search thrift stores to find valuable pieces to resell.

But whether you have a collection of band T-shirts or office attire, finding success on these platforms takes time and effort. Before diving into your closet, there are a few things to know.

You set your prices

Unlike consignment and resale shops, you can price items yourself on an online platform. Before listing a piece of clothing, look it up on multiple platforms to find out what it’s currently selling for. Depending on age, condition and brand, prices can vary widely.

You can also take advantage of direct messaging to negotiate with buyers and use features on apps like Depop and Poshmark that let you accept offers and create multi-item discounts.

“Sales can be sporadic,” says Andres Castillo of Los Angeles, who sells rare designer pieces through Depop, eBay and Instagram under the name Debonair Vintage. With rare or high-value items, it may take a while to find the right buyer, especially if you’re looking to break even or make a profit.

There’s a big time commitment

“I treat [reselling clothes] like my job,” says Eve Perez, a full-time student in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who sells under the name Fitsfinesse and was featured in Teen Vogue in 2021 for her Depop success. She responds to messages daily, on top of taking product photos, sewing custom pieces, and packaging and shipping orders.

Communicating clearly with first-time buyers is essential: “If you don’t build that relationship, then you won’t get sales and returning customers,” she adds.

Although you have control over the prices, reselling online takes much more time and energy than selling to consignment stores. According to Depop, sellers who list consistently — around 15 items per week — sell more over time.

“It takes a lot of time and dedication,” says Castillo. Top-notch sellers have to learn to take eye-catching photos, understand shipping rates, negotiate over text, and research brands and trends to make the most of their inventory.

Overhead costs add up

Yes, you can set your prices — but there are a few overhead costs to factor in. Online resale platforms charge commission fees, plus additional fees for shipping through the platform or accepting payments through a processor like PayPal. Depop takes 10% of every sale and eBay takes 15%; Poshmark takes $2.95 for items under $15 and 20% for items over $15. PayPal, which integrates with Depop, Poshmark and eBay, charges another 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction for payment processing.

On top of that, you’ll need to pay for packaging, label printing and possibly storing inventory including bins, hangers and shelves. Top sellers also recommend adding a personal touch in shipments, like free stickers, small accessories or a thank-you note. When all those costs add up, you may find that only higher-value items are worth listing.

You can cut costs by reusing shipping mailers and boxes, and printing labels at your local FedEx or UPS store instead of purchasing a label printer. Or, reduce shipping costs for buyers by bundling several items into a single shipment, which can motivate buyers to purchase more from your shop.

The social aspect is a priority

The most successful online resellers have one thing in common: a strong personal brand. Finding your niche and building a loyal following is essential to long-term success on a resale platform.

“It’s like Instagram, but for selling,” says Perez, who focuses on curating a consistent aesthetic and marketing her shop on social media platforms like TikTok.

Castillo grew his business by catering to a very specific market: vintage designer collectors, specifically for Moschino and Chanel. He sells across several platforms, using his Instagram to rent pieces out to stylists for photo shoots and red-carpet events. Though he targets a fairly small community, his narrow focus helps him reach his ideal buyers.

Other top sellers on resale platforms can be seen taking a similar approach, with shop themes ranging from band T-shirts to vintage gowns. “Lean into your personal taste,” says Castillo. Even if you don’t have a curated collection to sell, personalized packaging or a unique photo background can help your items stand out.

Both Perez and Castillo emphasize the importance of cross-linking social media platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible. Creating a dedicated Instagram Business account and following other online sellers and designers can help drive buyers to your shop. Check popular pages for trendy hashtags and add those to your posts. Making the time to promote on social media can help transform your closet into some serious income.

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Turning Your Hobby into a Business? Here is What You Need to Know

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Do you dream of one day quitting your job and following your passion in life? You can do it! Many successful entrepreneurs turned their hobbies into profitable businesses.

Do you have a hobby? Doing the things you love keeps you engaged with life, gives your mind a focus, and helps you enhance your concentration. Investing time in your hobby also provides you with a great way to relax, unwind, and relieve daily stress.

photo credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

You shouldn’t be ashamed of your hobby even if your friends and family don’t share it. Only because they find interest in something else doesn’t mean that no one in the world shares the same interests that you do. In fact, millions of people engage in the same hobby as you do daily.

So if you thought that no one shared your enthusiasm for this activity until now, think again. Whatever activity you can imagine, millions of other people on the planet are doing it as you read this article.

If you’re one of the individuals who wonder how they can transform their hobby into a successful venture, this article provides information on how to start a business based on the things you love.

Do a Self-assessment

Do you know what it takes to turn your hobby into a lucrative business? Do you have the required stamina and energy to take the necessary steps and transform it into a venture? Yes, it would be nice to spend your days doing what you love and making money, but make sure you don’t ruin your hobby by transforming it into a business. You started pursuing it to blow off some steam, but you could take its charm away if you add a lot of pressure on it to deliver money.

Research to understand what starting a business in this sector implies and make sure there’s a paying public before you bet the farm on it. Running a successful company requires plenty of work and responsibility, two things that could take the fun out of your hobby.

Plant hobby as a business

Test The Idea

If you decide that you have what it takes to turn your passion into a business, the next step is to test the concept by starting a side hustle. When the profits reach a level that allows you to cover monthly bills and support yourself, you can quit your job and pursue this venture.

However, don’t leave your present job if your side gig doesn’t make enough cash flow to last you at least two years. Be ready for the shock you’ll get when you turn from getting a monthly salary to having to pay taxes yourself. To make sure that you won’t worry about housing, food, or monthly bills, save up at least two years of living expenses.

Research

Before investing time, money, and effort into starting a business, take a look at the market and see what your future competitors are doing. Research the niche online, on social media and among the public to see what customers expect from you and what other companies provide.

You can research the market on your own or hire a professional company to do it for you. It’s recommended to work with specialists because they know the aspects that require extra attention and can help you determine if starting a business in this niche is worth it.

Make a list of your biggest 10 competitors and analyse their activity to figure out what they do to position themselves as leaders in the industry. Check their website, evaluate its functionality, and have a look at their Google ranking. Remember that people start searching for a product or service online in the present digital world, and it’s crucial to rank high in search engines to reach your ideal customer.

After doing research, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of competition.

Reading small business plan

Write a Business Plan

The business plan serves as a blueprint for your company, and you’ll definitely need it if you want to apply for a loan. However, don’t skip creating a business plan because it’s quite useful in starting your venture, even if you don’t seek funding. Research shows that the business people who make a detailed business plan are 16% more likely to develop a profitable business.

Here are some elements your business plan should include:

  • Financial plan
  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Management team
  • List of services and products
  • Marketing and sales plans
  • Marketing strategies
  • Metrics and milestones

If you want to transform your hobby into a profitable business, you need to take it seriously and write a complete business plan.

Build a Brand

Branding is essential when trying to build an easy-to-recognise business. It would help if you had a unique business name and logo that match your company’s personality and values. Pick brand colours that resonate best with your target audience, and craft a message they resonate with.

You can use free online tools to create a logo and elements for your business cards and advertising materials. Canva is such a solution that provides access to a huge library of elements.

Digital aisles

Establish a Strong Web Presence

In the digital era, all businesses need an online presence to attract attention and reach their target audience, no matter their size or specific. You should create a website that allows you to present the benefits your clients get if they purchase your products and even create a shop page that allows them to buy online. However, establishing a solid web presence extends beyond creating a website. It also implies creating and maintaining the page, connecting it to social media profiles, and posting regularly on the blog.

Your purpose is to brand your company as an authority in the industry that also provides valuable pieces of advice beyond selling products.

Try to be consistent in how you present yourself to your public because you need to establish an image. Your web presence and brand are the main elements that impact your company’s identity and help loyal clients differentiate your products from your competitors.

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Business Ideas

Q&A With Dr Ryan Shelton on Starting Up a Natural Healthcare Business

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”Dr Ryan Shelton is the Medical Research Director For Zenith Labs. He believes that there is a way to help sick people with natural treatments complimenting the conventional pharmaceutical approach. He has created a regimen of natural treatments consisting of holistic and complementary medicine, and it’s all backed up by science-based research.

Dr Ryan Shelton had dreams about being a doctor from a young age. His love for helping people inspired him to study the human body and how its internal and external environments change it for the better or for the worse.

Dr Shelton’s path to becoming a doctor was anything but typical. His undergraduate education focused on biochemistry and genetics. After attending medical school for one year he withdrew to “think in slow motion” and received another degree in Philosophy. He left because he disagreed with the way doctors were being taught to practice medicine. Dr Shelton believed that the better way to treat his patients was to heal their whole bodies rather than just treating the symptoms.

After receiving his Philosophy degree, Dr Shelton understood how important it would be to be able to treat or prevent chronic diseases holistically. He returned to medical school, where he earned his Naturopathy Doctorate. Now, Dr Ryan Shelton gets to follow his passion by helping his patients achieve their best overall health through natural remedies.

With chronic disease being on the rise, Naturopaths like Dr Shelton want to do their best to try and stop it from spreading by treating patients holistically. He does this by turning their food into medicine first and using natural remedies to increase their overall health. His goal is to balance his patient’s systems, and he passionately believes that his ultimate goal is to help his patients achieve optimal health.

Dr. Ryan Shelton’s work with Zenith Labs has helped him attract patients interested in pursuing wellness rather than focusing solely on disease care. His successful medical practice complements this passion, as does the company he founded. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall wellness or just want an alternative to the traditional pharmacological regimen, Dr Ryan Shelton has a plan for how to help you.

Hello Dr. Shelton, can you briefly tell us who you are and what you do?

Currently, I’m the medical research director for Zenith Labs and a Naturopathic Doctor with a successful private practice. I am also the Wellness Director and on the admissions team for a behavioral therapeutic program.

For the last few years, I’ve been running an online supplement business where people outside of where I am can get the same kind of advice that I give to my in-person patients from anywhere in the world. I do my best to promote a concept of total wellness and natural health solutions.

I have developed several natural health regimens over the years based on my research. I’m working hard to teach people that everything else will follow if they improve their overall health.

Please describe your company in a few words

Yes, it is a company, but really what we’re trying to promote here is a culture. Sure, we could go online and sell supplements till the cows come home. Lots of people do that. This naturalistic approach has been my life’s work ever since I was in medical school. I initially left medical school because I felt that the traditional way medicine was practiced was to treat the symptoms rather than treat the whole person.

I’m working hard to use my company as a vehicle to teach my customers and patients that they can improve their total body health, which makes healing other symptoms easier.

What is your company’s biggest achievement in recent years?

The surge in online business, I would say, has been our best achievement in recent years. When we first moved into this space, I felt like the company wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. We did traditional promotions and bought advertising, but nothing was really getting us over that plateau.

Just when I thought I might have to just let it go, word of mouth started spreading, and it spread like crazy. Satisfied patients were telling other people about what they’d experienced by using these treatments, and those people turned out in droves to get these benefits for themselves.

In what direction do you see natural healthcare going?

The coolest thing I think I have seen recently is that natural medicine is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. For a long time, people who preferred natural remedies were seen as “uninformed” or “Weird.”

Nowadays, people are flocking to find out what natural remedies they can incorporate into their own life. We’ve all seen so many odd things come from big pharma over the past ten years, so is it any wonder people are looking for a way that they can take charge of their own health. It will become much more focused on environmental medicine, lifestyle medicine, and anti-aging medicine.

We will begin using natural treatments not in response to crises, but rather to promote a level of optimal health not yet seen in the general population.

Natural medicine
photo credit: PhotoMIX Company / Pexels

Which recent developments in your industry do you find exciting?

The way in which people seem to be flocking to natural medicine. It’s no longer on the fringes of people’s thoughts. I see people take a more open-minded approach to learn about things that natural healers from around the world have known for centuries.

The general attitude that people have, that they want to discover things for themselves rather than just taking the proscribed wisdom as gospel, is really exciting. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to being able to reach more people than ever before.

Again, environmental medicine and anti-aging, natural agents specifically targeting your unique specific genes and DNA to promote optimal health. The days of degeneration and disease are hopefully going away soon.

What keeps you motivated?

My vision. It’s been front and center in my mind since I was a child. I watched so many of my older relatives that suffered from chronic conditions just wither away with the traditional medical approaches. I knew there had to be a better way, and I feel like I’ve found it.

What keeps me motivated is the drive to bring what I’ve found to as many people as possible, so maybe they won’t have to watch their loved ones suffer as I did.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the health field?

Hang in there. It’s the best advice I could give anyone. Medical school is tough, and it should be. Then you’ll have your residency and boards, which are brutal. Becoming a doctor is a privilege that we, as a society, only bestow on those who have proven themselves to be the best at what they do.

If being a medical professional is your dream, then hang in there, and fight for it tooth and nail until you’ve achieved your dream.

Thanks for your time, Dr Shelton!

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