How to Survive—and Thrive!—When You Take Your Small Business Online It’s easier than ever to set up an online business, but the field (whatever your field may be) is more crowded than ever. Below, some tips on what you’ll need to get started—and what you’ll need to stand out in the new marketplace. How to survive: Register your trademarks. You’ll need a name (or DBA) for your business, and you’ll need to make sure it’s available. The same goes for any other trademarks you might wish to use for your business.
How to thrive: Secure the perfect URL. Ideally, it would use the name you chose for your business (e.g., “www.businessname.com”). Of course, you’ll need to make sure your chosen URL is available before you proceed. If you can secure your business name and your URL at the same time, you’ll never have to worry about buying a URL from domain squatters.
How to survive: Get your website in order. At the very least, you’ll need to figure out web hosting, site design, content creation, site maintenance, and a top-notch e-commerce software package to handle all those sales you’ll be racking up. You’ll also need to obtain your Federal Tax Identification Number (if you haven’t already), as well as any applicable licenses and permits. Since your new online business will have the chance to do business all over the world, you’ll need to know about any additional licenses you’ll need to sell to other states or countries.
How to thrive: Hire the right people to design your site—which might not mean going with the cheapest option. Just about anyone with an internet connection can build a website these days, but only the most talented people, the ones who really have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in e-commerce, can build a great site. Find a team that can demonstrate familiarity with the latest trends in design and content marketing, and they’ll help you build a site that feels truly fresh and contemporary, leaving your customers feeling great about their experience.
How to survive: Use search engine marketing (SEM) or paid search. Even though you’ve built that beautiful new website, it doesn’t mean people are going to find it on their own. Paid search terms (the sponsored results that show up next to the main Google search results) are a great way to drive traffic to your site.
How to thrive: Find your niche and stick to it. You may be operating on a limited budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use paid search intelligently. The less popular a search terms is, the cheaper it is to bid on. So, the more “niche” your search terms are, the better it is for you. If you reach someone who has progressed beyond general terms and is searching for something ultra-specific, it means that they’re that much closer to buying. That’s exactly when you want to point them towards your site.
How to survive: Follow up with email. Build a list of prospects and customers, and keep in touch with them. It’s a great way to keep your business at the forefront of your audience’s minds.
How to thrive: Never, ever spam. You’ll need to comply with all relevant anti-spam regulations. Once you’ve got a good email program in place, it’ll be a simple and consistent way to keep additional revenue flowing in.#SmallBusiness