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How to Start an Online Business that Grows

How to Start an Online Business that Grows

The online space is so competitive right now that it can be tough to stand out. You need to be unique if your online business can survive and thrive in today's digital landscape.

There's no doubt about it. Starting an online business is extremely difficult and requires hard work, energy and dedication. You may have heard the term ‘bootstrapping' thrown around, which refers to a situation where a person builds a business from the ground up. This is often the only way to succeed. But what happens if you're not ready to bootstrap or need a little more help? Or, perhaps you just want to make a little extra cash. Perhaps you're ready to get started on your first online business.

If you're interested in starting a side hustle to supplement your income but don't know where to start, this guide is for you.

Build Trust

Practical Ways To Build Trust At Work

I'm sure you've been struggling with the same thing and wondering, “How do I build trust with my audience?” You might even feel that your audience is ignoring you, and you can't get your message across.

While it may seem like many ways to build trust, it's pretty simple to understand and implement. Trust is built through relationships, and there are three main types of relationships to consider:

  • Trust vs Distrust – If your audience feels you don't have their best interest at heart, they will ignore or distrust you.
  • Familiarity vs Ignorance – If people feel like they know you already and you're just doing the same thing as everyone else, they'll tune you out.
  • Credibility vs Credulity – If your audience sees you as a credible source of information, they'll listen to you.

To build trust with your audience, you need first to know them and then use these three principles to create trust.

Bestseller No. 1
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ W x 8.5″ H x 1″ D
  • Stephen M .R. Covey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 354 Pages – 02/05/2008 (Publication Date) – FREE PRESS (Publisher)

Let's dive in!

1: Know Your Audience

To build trust with your audience, you must get to know them. Start by taking a look at your audience. What do they care about? Who are the influencers in their lives?

For example, if you're a musician, who are the people who listen to your music and make the purchasing decisions?

2: Create Relationships

As soon as you build relationships with your audience, it becomes a lot easier to build trust. Start by finding out what they care about. When you create content for them, what do they respond to?

Don't create content for the sake of creating content; create content for your audience. It's easy to just talk about yourself and what you're doing, but your audience wants to hear what you're thinking.

Ask them questions, and don't just answer with a one-word response. Get to know them.

3: Provide Value

So you know how to build relationships with your audience; now it's time to provide value.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Read More:  20 Tips to Convert Subscribers to Loyal Customers

What are your audience's goals? Where do they want to go in life? This is where you can help them.

When they ask you for help, be specific. Give them step-by-step instructions on how to achieve those goals.

Provide them with valuable content, tips and tricks, and resources to help them achieve those goals.

Be genuine, helpful, and willing to help. You don't need to do anything extraordinary to build trust, just show up and be authentic.

Now that you know how to build trust with your audience don't just sit back and wait for it to happen. Be intentional about building relationships, providing value, and creating trust.

Be Honest & Authentic

Statistic On Branding Authenticity

As an entrepreneur, you must be honest and authentic. There is no point in pretending you have a service you do not or telling lies. Your credibility will suffer if you pretend you are something you are not, and people will eventually find out. This will inevitably lead to bad reviews and bad word of mouth, damaging your reputation. 

The internet is a digital world where everyone can check up on you anytime and make their opinions known. If you are not honest, you are inviting negative feedback and reviews. The best thing to do is, to tell the truth, no matter how much it hurts you or others.

Be Authentic

You must be completely transparent. You must be completely open. Any part of your life you hide will affect your business and lose your credibility. No one wants to deal with a dishonest person; no one wants to hear the truth if it isn't true, and no one wants to know that you are hiding something.

You must be a role model

When starting your online business, you must set the standards everyone else will follow. You need to be honest, you need to be authentic, and you need to be open. If you do not set the standards, your competitors will set them. So, when starting, you should be willing to put yourself out there and show others how to do things correctly.

Focus on Customer Service

People are attracted to companies that care and listen. In your personal life, you have always been honest and shown the people around you that you are genuine. Now that you have your own online business, it is time to bring the same values into your business. You need to focus on your customer service. 

Your customers need to be treated with respect and be able to contact you whenever they need you. You will get good reviews when you provide good customer service; when you have bad reviews, it will be your fault.

If you are running an online business, you must ensure that you are a role model and focus on your customer service. Being genuine, honest and authentic will go a long way toward helping you build trust and increase your customer base.

Bestseller No. 1
The 10 Golden Rules of Customer Service: The Story of the $6,000 Egg (Ignite Reads)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Duncan, Todd (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 136 Pages – 04/01/2019 (Publication Date) – Simple Truths (Publisher)

Build a Community

When you start an online business, you will face many challenges. There are so many things that you have to do. One of them is building a community for your business.

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The primary purpose of community building is to build a relationship between people interested in your work. For example, if you are building an online business to earn money, you may have many people who are interested in what you have to say. These people may be your customers, followers, or followers who become your customers.

Building a community around your business is one of the essential factors driving your business's success. Here, we'll discuss how you can build a community around your business.

Let's say that you run a website selling sports equipment. If you want to grow your business, you have to build a community around your website.

If you don't have a good community, you cannot expect your website to get many visitors. In addition, a good community helps to promote your products. It also helps you to make sales.

Provide Great Value

High Value Customers Performance Marketing

Great value means providing customers with an experience they will love. Customers who feel they got great value will tell their friends, and word-of-mouth marketing is the best way to spread the word about your product or service. When people are satisfied, they like to share their experiences and share what they love.

Cheap value is about price. Cheap value means that customers don't pay a lot but are paying for what they get. In the long run, you will likely lose customers because you provide them with a bad value. People don't stay with you unless they feel they are getting great value.

So, why are we talking about value today? How do you know if you're offering good value when starting a new business? How do you know whether you are providing good value to your customers?

There are three ways you can offer good value to customers:

  1. You can focus on providing value at every step of the customer journey
  2. You can offer customers more than they expected
  3. You can be more than you seem

Let's look at each of these ways in a little more detail.

Bestseller No. 1
Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms
  • Hardcover Book
  • Baker, Ronald J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages – 12/28/2010 (Publication Date) – Wiley (Publisher)

First, let's talk about providing value at every step of the customer journey.

When you provide great value, you are doing one of two things:

  • You are helping customers reach a goal which they value
  • You are adding value to the customer experience, which they value

These two are mutually exclusive. The only way to add value to the customer experience is to help the customer reach a goal that they value.

Let's look at an example. If you are an airline company, and you are running a promotion selling discounted tickets for travel to a destination, then you are probably providing good value.

Why? Because you are helping your customers reach their goal of going away on vacation. They are doing something they value. The airline company is making money by providing value.

But if you're an online retailer selling clothes, you're unlikely to offer great value to your customers. Because you're selling clothes, there's no need for customers to travel somewhere. You don't need to help them reach their goal. There is no reason for them to buy a t-shirt. 

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So, what's the point of selling clothes if you aren't helping the customer get what he wants? You're not providing value. You're providing cheap value.

Understand the Customer

Performance Marketing Passive Customer

When you are an online business owner, there are lots of customers that you have to deal with, and it is necessary to understand your customer before they would want to buy your product or service. 

Understanding your customer means knowing who they are, where they live, how much money they have, and what kind of problems they are having with the services or products you offer. For example, you will need to know how old they are, their gender, their race, or ethnicity. 

You will also need to know whether they are married, single, divorced, widowed, or have children. Knowing the above can help you decide how much to charge, how to design your website and the level of care you will provide your customer.

Understanding the customer is not just about marketing. You will also need to understand the customer in terms of how to improve the quality of service and products offered by you. For example, you can provide a better service to a customer if you know his needs, wants, and how to satisfy him. 

Knowing the above will also help you in making decisions about the types of services and products that you will offer and will help you make decisions about how to price them. So, as a business owner, you must know your customers well and find out what they want.

Why do you need to understand the customer while running an online business?

Answering this question requires you to know how to market your business, your goals, and what you want to achieve in your business. To answer this question, you will need to understand what your customer wants and what he is looking for. This will help you determine what products or services you will provide and how to advertise your business. A good way of doing this is to ask yourself these questions.

  • What does my customer want?
  • How much does my customer want it?
  • Who is my customer?
  • Why does my customer buy from me?
  • What do I offer to my customer?
  • How can I convince my customer to buy from me?
  • What can I do to get more sales?
  • How can I make my business successful?

To answer the above questions, you must determine the product or service you will offer your customers. The primary purpose of your business is to earn money, so you must determine how much your customers will pay for your products or services. 

After you determine how much money your customers will pay, you can then determine what services you will offer to your customers. For example, if you offer products, you can offer the following.

  • Free trial โ€“ If you offer a free trial, you will allow your customer to use your product or service for a certain period without charging him for the service or product. You will charge your customer for the service or product when the time is over.
  • Subscription โ€“ You will provide your customer with a set amount of services or products at regular intervals.
  • One-time sale โ€“ You will charge your customer for the service or product and will not be able to offer him services or products again.
  • Monthly subscription โ€“ You will charge your customer monthly for a set amount of service or product.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Read More:  How to Grow Your App Using Digital Marketing

Solve Problems

Customer Support Basics

We live in a world that revolves around technology. Everything is available at the touch of a button. This means there is no reason for a business owner not to provide customer support.

But what if you don't know how to solve a customer problem? Here are some ways to fix a problem without hiring a full-time employee.

Solve Customer Problems by Providing Technical Support

As long as a computer user, you must know how to troubleshoot problems. But you can get started using online tutorials even if you are unsure. Thousands of online tutorial websites can teach you how to solve any issue.

Customer Support Forum

A support forum is the best way to resolve a customer's problem. Many websites offer a support forum that is designed specifically for customers. These forums allow you to interact directly with customers experiencing issues.

In addition, these forums are beneficial because the customer can ask you questions without having to make a purchase.

TIP: Make sure you have a dedicated support email address for all the customer support inquiries you receive.

The best customer support forums are those that focus on technical problems. They have a list of the most common problems faced by customers and a community of users willing to help.

Bestseller No. 1
The Customer Support Handbook: How to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience for Your Brand
  • Hatter, Sarah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 202 Pages – 02/04/2014 (Publication Date) – CoSupport (Publisher)

Offer a Win-Win Solution

You've just started an online business, or maybe you're planning to start one soon, wondering how to attract the right customers. Maybe you're worried you won't succeed โ€“ there's so much competition!

But here's the thing: if you're thinking about starting a business or already have one, you need to offer a win-win solution for your customers. What do we mean by this?

A win-win solution is a good product or service for you and your customer.

If you're looking for examples of win-win solutions, think about the following:

  • A business that offers free delivery, and you can choose the day and the hour (you pick the day and the hour that works for you), but your customer can choose when to receive the order.
  • An app that lets your customer earn money by completing a task (such as taking a photo) for you.
  • An offer where you provide information for your customers, who have to pay you for it.

It's also a good idea to focus on what benefits your customer. When you offer a win-win solution, it's about helping your customer, not yourself. Think about the people you would like to help and imagine offering them a solution that will benefit them.

Remember, it's about what your customer wants, not what you want. By offering a win-win solution, you're making sure you don't have any regrets. And if you're doing your job well, you'll find that you'll always be ahead of the game.

Listen and Learn

Understand Customers Mindset

Your business idea should come from a clear understanding of what problem you are trying to solve. For example, if you are a web designer and you are looking for new customers, you might decide to set up an e-commerce site where people can buy clothes and accessories. You should be able to imagine yourself going through the steps of selling these items on a website. Think about what would work best for you and your potential customers, and then write down the key points. Your business plan should explain how you think your product will sell and what kind of money you expect to make.

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Think about other industries.

If starting a clothing shop, you will need to research the competition, whether there is demand for your product, and what retailers in your local area are doing. Also, check how many customers you will have to draw on, whether they will pay for postage and packaging, and whether you will have to use a third-party supplier.

Make it easy for customers to buy.

Once you know what you want to sell and whom you want to sell to, you need to think about how to make it easier for your customers to buy. Try to be straightforward about terms and conditions. Make sure you clearly explain how you will deliver your product and if you will collect payments. It is also worth checking if you can use a credit or debit card online and ensuring that all payments are processed securely.

Be creative.

Businesses often look alike, but that doesn't mean they can't be different. People love businesses that stand out and do things differently. So, think about ways to make your online shop memorable and distinguish yourself from your competitors. 

For example, do you offer a service that no one else does? Could you offer a different product brand, such as organic, vegan, or gluten-free? Do you have a unique or interesting story behind your business? It could be about your family history, a cause you support, or your passion for a particular subject.

Be flexible.

While sticking to a rigid business plan is tempting, you might want to be more open to change. The business world has never been static, and customers have constantly changed. Think about how you might have to adapt to the needs and expectations of your customers and make your website and marketing strategy flexible enough to adapt.

Don't give up.

It's normal to doubt yourself. But if you think you have a great idea, don't give up before you start. Start small and determine how you will scale up your business as it grows. If you fail the first time, try again.

Embrace Change

Embrace Change When You Start A Business

Nowadays, it is more complicated than ever to make a living from one's skills and ideas, even if those are great. Many people try their hands at entrepreneurship, but most of them fail. Even when they succeed, they will do the same thing for years, only hoping for better luck the next time.

But what if you were able to change course completely? What if you were able to start an online business, work from home, and do something you love? If that sounds exciting, read on to find out how you can start making money from home.

You first need to realise that change is a crucial component of life. No matter what you do, you will face constant change. You can plan for it, but you will never be fully prepared. So, embrace the change you face today and make it work for you.

Work at something new

If you are trying to make a living from an idea or skill, there's a danger that you will always have to return to that idea or skill rather than move on to something else. Your mind becomes focused on how you earn a living rather than how you earn a living. If you spend much time working on your business, it is time to move on.

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You could run many different businesses requiring different skills, experience and attitudes. You don't have to do the same thing for the rest of your life. It might be possible to start your own business, but it won't be easy. The good news is that you can use your skills to create your path.

Know the numbers

You need to be able to handle the numbers and understand your finances. If you don't have the skills, find someone to help you.

You can use online resources such as Quicken or Excel to keep track of your finances. You will need to set up an account to do this. This will allow you to view your income and expenses in one place.

You also need to have a bank account for your business, as you will need to pay yourself and you will need to file taxes. Make sure you know what kind of banking you need โ€“ and what you need it for.

Make sure you have the time to spend on your business. You can't expect to make any money in a short space of time. Take it slow, and don't stress if you are not making money immediately. You will burn out if you spend too much time on your business. If you need to hire a helper, find someone you trust who will not interfere with your work.

You will also need to set up a separate email address for your business and keep all your business-related paperwork together. Make sure you can contact all the people you need to, even if they are not always around.

As your business grows, you may want to hire people. Hire people for the right reasons and ensure they are skilled at what you need them to do. Knowing the expectations and work ethic of the people you hire would be best. Remember, you will need to be just as flexible with the people you hire as you would be with your employees.

Set your business up correctly

Your business may require registration with the local authorities. There are several reasons for registering your business. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Tax
  • Paying national insurance
  • Registering a trademark
  • Having proof of business premises
  • Registering a business name
  • Making your premises safe

Stay Grounded

Stay Humble Business Quotes

For many people, starting their own online business is like riding a roller coasterโ€”you feel excited, hopeful, and nervous simultaneously. And that's why starting your own business can be so intimidating. But if you follow these simple steps, you'll have no trouble staying grounded.

Step 1: Decide what you're passionate about

Before starting your own business, you need to decide what you want out of life. Some people get stressed because they're unsure of what they want or don't know how to define their career goals. But if you have a clear vision of what you want, you'll have a better chance of achieving it.

Step 2: Set goals for yourself

Think about your career path and what you want out of life. Do you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher? What are your educational and professional goals? Are you interested in becoming a business owner? Write down your career goals and set them as SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals.

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Step 3: Be careful with money

Start your online business by focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Don't spend too much time trying to fix your weaknesses because that will only distract you from your ultimate goal. Instead, focus on doing something you love and believe in.

Once you've established your online business, set goals that will help you stay focused. Make sure you spend time developing a strategy that will allow you to accomplish your goals. This might mean working out how to create a product, market your products, or manage your money.

Step 4: Stay grounded

Having dreams is one thing; being able to follow through on those dreams is another. It would help if you found a balance between your dreams and the reality of your situation. For instance, you might dream of travelling to Australia and working as a fashion model, but you might find that it takes longer than expected to save up the money needed to make the trip. Instead of getting discouraged, make realistic plans that you can achieve within the following year.

Your online business will be easier to handle when you can keep a realistic perspective of what you're trying to do. When you set your goals, consider the realities of the situation. You might find attracting clients difficult if you work on a tight budget.

Your work isn't going to get done overnight. It'll take time and effort to reach your goals, and if you want to succeed, you need to stick to your plan.

SaleBestseller No. 1
H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.
  • Lomenick, Brad (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 10/18/2016 (Publication Date) – HarperCollins Leadership (Publisher)


If you start an online business, you must have a marketing plan. That's how you will keep your customers returning, and that's how you will be recognised and stand out from all the rest. 

Every day you create a marketing plan, you will find more ways to make money from your business. You can choose to market your services or products by selling them directly to your customers, or you can use a third-party network to make money for you. Whichever option you choose, you will eventually see that marketing your business is a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly task. 

This is one of the reasons you need to take the time and effort to make your business profitable and grow it into a full-fledged empire.

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Last update on 2024-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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