But seriously, think about it
You are about to invest probably all of your savings into a new project, so you have to be sure there’s a place for you on the market. Do the research and test your idea. Use online surveys, ask family, friends and colleagues, and if you’ve got the budget for it, you can even hire a company that’ll do a thorough market analysis for you.
There are a few simple rules you should follow before you set your mind on a certain trade.
- Firstly find a niche within the industry. You have to be as specific as you can. For example ‘online clothing store’ isn’t an idea. Try something like ‘online store with children’s clothing made from organic cotton’.
- Secondly, prepare yourself buyers personas. Lack of experience in marketing shouldn't put you back. There are plenty of online platforms that will help you create personas profiles. Sticking with the example above, your target group would probably be the mothers’ community. Your task would be to get into a mother’s shoes and figure out what type of service is she missing.
Prepare the ground
First - the domain. If most of your activities are set online, it’s better to synchronize the name of the domain with company’s name. That way you can avoid a situation when you’ve prepared the paperwork and officially started a company but you can’t set up a website because the url is taken. Check if the chosen name for your online business is available on different platforms. If there’s a name you really like and it’s taken, you may consider choosing alternative domains like “.io” or “.co” instead of “.com”. On that note, think about what distinguishes you from your component and if it’s worth getting in competition with certain brands. Look for what’s missing on the market - it’s always the best idea.
Second - tech stuff. If you’re hiring a professional IT company for your project, you probably don’t need to read this. The guys take care of this side of things. But, if you’re thinking about doing it yourself, here’s what you need to know.
Your website is going to be your business card for the whole world - the stakes are high so the quality must be even higher. Don’t underestimate the power of graphic design, because it’s the first thing the user sees. A professional graphic designer will cover not only the layout of the website but also the User Experience. Every website needs to be developed and written in code. If you want your online store to attract many customers, you need skilled developers to make it easier. They can add features to the site that will distinguish you from your competition, i.e. booking appointments if you’re selling services, or preparing the engine for an online store with product catalogue, customer’s basket, payments etc. With that comes a possibility of creating a mobile app or at least a responsive mobile design and finding the best hosting services so that your website doesn’t crash.
Gaining customers goes hand in hand with search engine optimization (SEO). It means that your site shows up on Google after typing certain keywords related to your industry. If you cover this topic at the beginning, you won't have to think about it too much in the future.
As you can see, the technical side behind a simple online store is very complex so it’s better to invest in a dependable team (like ours) and save yourself a lot of trouble.
Get down to business
A business plan - sound familiar? It’s great if you’re serious about your job and want to make money. Not everyone studied economics, so an online guide on how to make a business plan can give you some ideas. If you’re thinking of growing your business fast, you may consider hiring a professional business growth hacker who will help you prepare a plan not only for you but also for future investors and even for a bank loan.
A strategy helps to organize work and defining goals. Once the business is up and running, you’ll know which leads to follow and in what sort of direction to go.
Estimating costs of running a company can also give you an idea of how much you spend and how big your income must be. Staying focused and being rational will help you go through it.
Build your team
A person wanting to dive into his/her own enterprise needs to be strong, determined and focused. These qualities can be gained over time, but it won’t be easy. Don't overestimate your abilities and think you can do everything on your own. Even if you try really hard, you’ll most probably fail. Take the time to build your team with trustworthy people that will be as determined as you to succeed.
We wish you a lot of luck and success in your project and if you need any help or advice from the backend side of things - don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Karol, CEO of ULAN Software & BOWWE.com, is a distinguished leader with a dual degree in CS and Marketing. With a background in FinTech, eCommerce, and Startups, his experience spans over 7 years in the Polish, Spanish, and Portuguese banking sectors, contributing to major institutions. With 11 years in SME eCommerce, he's advised 500+ companies globally and is a World Bank Group speaker. Karol has co-founded 3 startups and brings valuable insights from his Silicon Valley experience, focusing on growing international online businesses.