Taking a business online


2nd March, 2021

7 key considerations for taking a business online

From figuring out what you do to goalsetting – here are your top priorities to help you hit the ground running.

Starting and running a successful small business can be the most amazing opportunity to gain independence and build wealth, yet it can be very risky because of the high percentage of startups that fail.

Whether you’re planning to go freelance with your skills and develop a sole trader business, or develop a new digital technology to take on the world, there are a number of things to think about before leaving your full-time job or re-mortgaging your home.

So if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with a burning desire to break free of your wage slave bonds and achieve fame and untold riches, what should you be thinking about well before you take the plunge?

In this article, I discuss the seven things you absolutely must think through before you take that business idea to the world.

1. The nature of your business activity

For many with an established career or trade this is a ‘no-brainer’, but for others this can be tricky.

People can be so desperate to get into business they get into a line of work about which they know nothing or have no experience of.

The other side of this coin is the fact that all modern businesses require some digitally-integrated elements (whether it’s a website, online accounting or something more complicated, such as cloud ERP), and this can intimidate new business owners who don’t have a strong understanding of the space.

To increase your chances of success, you need to learn all about the business first, do a lot of research or better still work in that line of business. Take advice also from a good accountant or business mentor.

2. Are you the right person to go into business?

On the other hand, just because you are good at what you do does not necessarily mean you should be in business.

Here’s a shortlist of questions you need to be honest with yourself about:

  • Are you self-motivated and hard-working?
  • Are you organised and approach life in a systemised way?
  • Are you good at building relationships?
  • Can you work on your own independently?

Ask yourself some searching questions and seek the frank opinion of others who know you well. Do some research online about what characteristics are necessary to do well in business.

3. Are your finances in order?

The financial side of the business is vitally important and not being organised on the financial side is the quickest way to go bust. Many just lack the necessary financial discipline, getting behind with bills or taking excessive drawings, not paying their taxes or lack adequate working capital.

If that sounds like you, recognise this and delegate this part of the business out. Yes, it will cost you money, but at least then you can focus on the parts of the business in which you shine.

4. Have you done enough pre-preparation work?

It will greatly increase your chances of success spending time researching your chosen field, investigating the competition and preparing a detailed business plan well in advance.

You need to think through every aspect of your proposed business, your detailed operational procedures, your marketing, your pricing and most importantly of all, how you are going to differentiate yourself from the competition (which is so often overlooked).

Differentiation in a crowded marketplace is absolutely vital to stand out from the crowd.

5. Goal setting, goal tracking and a growth mindset

Goals are, in many ways, the most important thing to think about in business.

You need to know what you’re trying to achieve in business and the lack of meaningful and achievable goals often results in mediocre business performance.

Write down your goals and look at them every day — if you know where you’re heading it’s so much easier to arrive at your destination.

Furthermore, mundane and repetitive tasks will be so much easier to get through if you know that everything you do is getting you a step closer to your goals.

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6. Are you buying an existing business or starting your own?

Again, a vitally important distinction, and one you must understand the ramifications of before jumping in the deep end.

Buying an existing business saves time and enables you to start earning money straight away. But it can be expensive and risky because it could be a dud.

In contrast, starting a business can give the illusion of being cheaper but may not be, taking into account the initial marketing costs, buying the necessary plant and equipment and the income forgone during the initial growth phase of the business.

So again, do your research, take advice, and go cautiously. If in doubt, don’t proceed.

7. Pause and take stock

Think things through carefully. Do loads of research, subscribe to free online business newsletters, read some business books, go to business events and training, and expand your network — your local Chamber of Commerce will be able to help.

By mixing with other successful entrepreneurs and learning from books, online articles, and courses you will learn a lot and it will start to sink in.

There is a lot involved in the world of business and the more you know, the better you will cope in the long run.

READ: How to take a bigger business online